If you have always lived somewhere in the south, which you probably haven’t if you’re reading this column, then before the past ‘covid’ year, you likely have only heard of the term ‘cabin fever.’ If you moved to the south after spending most of your life in the north, then you not only have heard of cabin fever, but you have also likely experienced at least a bit of it. If you live in the north, have always lived in the north, and probably always WILL live in the north, then you could write a book about cabin fever, especially after last and this year.
I happen to fit that last category of living and probably always living in the north, so I do feel more than qualified to tackle the subject referenced in the title of this sermonette to the less qualified. If you are one of those, I truly envy you.
So, it’s late February already, and for anyone living to the south of Vermont, the weather may already be flirting with the idea of spring, at least a bit. Here that is nothing that can be depended on. I got to spend some quality time with my snowblower only a few weeks ago and have already purchased more gas for it. I was fooled about that last year, and won’t be again this year, dang it.
Anyway, with all the fuss about the ‘c’ word virus, social distancing, staying home, etcetera, for the past year or so, even southerners, like my friends in South Barre, may still be experiencing a bit of the dreaded cabin fever. If so, I have a few tried and true remedies for that. As a decades-long Central Vermonter, I have tried them all and found them all to be true, even in a ‘c’ word year.
So, the first thing you need to do is find some way to feed the squirrels. Those guys don’t worry about cabin fever, but they do about the ‘f’ word, food. Feed them. It makes them fat and happy and gives you something to do.
Then, and in no particular order, you should try the following things to do that will take your time, make you feel better, and get you over that stupid fever feeling once and for all. Here they are.
Make some homemade soup. It doesn’t need to be super soup but make some. Follow a recipe or just wing it. It doesn’t matter. Your soup will warm your tummy and your heart. Making it will also warm up your kitchen and give a sense of accomplishment that is available in few other forms, especially if your spouse likes it. (If it’s bad, remember, garlic salt and some butter will fix almost anything. I am referring to the soup, not your spouse.)
Paint some rooms in your house. I’m doing this soon and am not exactly looking forward to it. I am looking forward to some new colors to look at inside of my house. It’s just a good idea after being inside for most of a freaking year. Paint is relatively cheap, psychiatrists are not.
Get off social media for a little while. No … get off it for a long while. Find some good books to read. Good books will never ‘un-friend’ you.
Turn off the news. I shouldn’t even have to mention why you should do this, so I won’t.
Babysit your grandkids if you have some. If you don’t have some, borrow someone else’s. Get to know them. You already got off social media, so why not? Whether they’re yours or someone else’s they have grown a lot since you last put down that phone.
Go to the supermarket and stock up on some ‘staples’ … some essentials. Why do they call canned goods ‘staples’? They are not staples, they are canned goods. In any case, having a supply of food on hand will make you feel better. It’s comforting.
Get yourself a simple, low-cost pet. We did this. We bought a parakeet last fall. He is funny, does tricks, never complains, costs little to feed, flies around the room, entertains us immensely, and is extremely low maintenance. Don’t get a rodent. They are also low maintenance, but the world is already full of rodents.
Then, finally, even in these trying times, practice being grateful for your family members, your pets, (even if the pets are not parakeets,) your home, your vehicles, your other possessions, and those stocked-up food supplies. In other words, count your blessings. Then, even if you haven’t tried it in a while, pray, and do it thankfully. Your cabin fever will be a thing of the past.