Who’s Singin’ the Cabin Fever Blues?

White.  Winter.  World.

White. Winter. World.

It’s so easy to get—ah choo!–a very bad case of–ah choo!–you know what I’m going to say don’t you?–a very bad case of Cabin Fever at this time of year.

It doesn’t matter if you live in a cabin like we do.

Doesn’t matter if you dwell in one of those fancy apartments in a fancy city.  Doesn’t matter if you’re milkin’ cows down on the farm.  Or driving through those suburbs on expressways wishing you lived down south.

In Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, (add your northern state here or maybe your southern state, the way things are going this year) you probably have 1) a teeny tiny bout with Cabin Fever or 2) a burgeoning case of the blues or 3) you’re ready to shoot six holes in your freezer, thanks, Jimmy Buffett.

"The weather has the shrimp boats in a frenzy".  --Jimmy Buffett

“The weather has the shrimp boats in a frenzy”. –Jimmy Buffett

Here’s what happens.  As the snow falls deeper and deeper and deeper, and the ice box of land and lake freezes more and more solid, and the temperatures plummet for days and weeks and months on end, something deep inside goes underground.  It’s as if some part of the spirit wriggles down around the intestines or maybe liver or gall bladder (if you’re lucky to still have one, and you should take a few moments to thank your gall bladder for all the hard work it does digesting fats and oils) and tries to protect you until you can sprout again.

Sometimes you never even recognize the part of you that shivers down to save itself.  You don’t recognize it until spring comes and you’re running around in short sleeves–or you visit Florida–and you think “Ohmygoodness, I’ve been hunkered down trying to keep myself alive for months!  Oh my, it feels liberating, like being born again.”

This Eskimo effort, this black bear part of yourself that hibernates, sometimes creates sad, sad feelings.  Think about it.  The lack of light refuses to help.  Vitamin D deserts the north-dweller.  Some suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder more than others.

Those who play outside seem less affected than those who hunker down on the couch and refuse to get up for six months.  Those who ski, snowmobile, walk, snowshoe and shovel may (and I repeat–may) fare better than those who drive to work with frozen windshield wipers and dangerous roads and skidding cars.

Add some other challenges–death, illness, you name it–and life can sometimes seem so cumbersome.

White, white, white

White, white, white

A woman paid taxes at my house this week.

“I hate winter,” she snarled.  She’s a lifetime Yooper (Upper Peninsula dweller) whose husband died a couple of years ago.

“This is terrible,” another muttered as she scurried from warm car to grocery store.

Another friend insists she’s giving her bitching husband a t-shirt in June “I survived the winter of 2013-14”.

Ahhhh, yes, I remember Marquette...

Ahhhh, yes, I remember Marquette…

Even on the blogosphere you can hear the northerners singing the Cabin Fever blues.  I want to hug each and every one.  I’ve experienced this illness many years–and may still even succumb this year.  Thus far, cross fingers, hearts and toes, I am still feeling amazingly cheerful, with only normal mood fluctuations.

However, just to hedge bets, and because it’s almost Valentines Day weekend, I begged said husband to accompany me to the Big City in an effort to ward off any Cabin Fever germs.  Yep, we’re headed to Marquette!!

We’re even staying overnight in one of those fancy motels with a swimming pool!  I just wanted to let you all know.  I might just stay in that hot tub until spring.  So if you don’t hear from me until, say, April, you’ll know what happened.

Just alerting you.

Anyone have Cabin Fever?  What kind of “medicine” makes it better for you?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in February 2014 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Who’s Singin’ the Cabin Fever Blues?

  1. What? Cabin fever at the Little House in the Big Woods? I can’t imagine how you all are even remotely sane at this point. Not an issue here on the equator. Imagine that! Hotel with pool sounds awesome! Happy Valentine’s Day, dear Kathy!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. Fountainpen says:

    Hot tea, or holding one of my cats on my lap, as I work on some of my
    art projects…..thanking our good God that I do have heat here in Southern
    Ohio……some people do not…..and I do have a home….some people are out on the street….some churches are opening their doors at night for the homeless…….And I worry about all of the dogs and cats, just praying that they are safe and warm too……this cold here in Cincinnati just lasts and lasts, and while we have snow equipment and the streets are generally usable…..the snow just does not melt…..just like the UP….it stays and stays for longer than we here want it around!

  3. penpusherpen says:

    ah Kathy, without those warming fingers from sunshine, the aid to absortion of Vitamin D, we do feel so down and depressed. (dark days, mornings and evenings drawing in, add to the burden) but as you so rightly say, hunkering down and becoming a couch potato doesn”t help, adds to the problem. It’s mental attitude, look to what’s right in your World, not what’s wrong. That old adage Count your Blessings, is a great one, there’s always someone worse off. My oh my, don’t you be in that tub for too long, you’ll get all pruney looking. 🙂 … Medicine for Cabin Fever? Up early,’n out an; about, walk off the blues, walk fast enough that they can’t keep up 🙂 xPenx

  4. Stacy says:

    Of course, you know I don’t have cabin fever, Kathy. This morning, I took pictures of the icicles on my house. That NEVER happens here, so I am delighted. That said, when I have occasion to visit northern friends and family, I take part in whatever weather is out there to ski, snowshoe, ice skate or sled like a twelve-year-old. Maybe it’s because I don’t live in it that I can see how much opportunity there is to get out there and participate in it. I know you don’t want to hear this, but….Y’all are SO lucky!! ❤

  5. lisaspiral says:

    Have fun in the hot tub. I know I intend to. Don’t be too jealous the hot tub I’m headed for is in San Jose.

  6. Getting outside even for short bursts of activity does wonders for revving up the endorphins — mood-lifters critical as we end the doldrums of February!! Yes, indeed, what a long winter it has been.

  7. My article this month was about “hunkering down”! I love that term! i gave a list, and expounded on each, of ways that I cope. Some years I don’t cope very well. This year, I seem to be doing okay. So far. Lovely thoughts on the subject, Kathy, thank you!
    Enjoy your little getaway…sounds fabulous!

  8. Bonnie says:

    Have a wonderful stay in Marquette, and enjoy that hot tub for all of us who are freezing. Everyone I talk to here is fed up with winter. Staying inside is getting more and more appealing, and for me that is not a good thing. The days when the sun shines, even though it’s so cold, helps get me through this season of brain freeze.

  9. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy,
    It’s another really cold day here– at -15 with a windchill of -23 brrrr but thankfully the temps will be on the rise throughout the day and the next week it’ll be really mild in the 20s and 30s. I’ve been in a hibernating mood this winter—and it suits how I feel. Staying indoors, relaxing in comfy, warm clothes and spending time with my new puppy, Gracie ♥ Plus, spending lots of time praying for people who are battling cancer (and 1 dear friend who lost her battle with cancer). And I’ve been enjoying the Olympics on tv. Cabin Fever seems like a gift this winter–being warm and cozy inside the house, nurturing my hopes and dreams, praying for comfort, peace and hope in other people’s lives and healing from the loss of my precious dog, Chloe and my friend, Donna Mae.
    I hope you and Barry have a wonderful time together in Marquette ♥

  10. My “winter” was not ‘all that’ but for us even brief cold and snow are grounds for complaint. My solution was ti stay very busy and active switching cabins! 😉 For keeping a spark of life going through cold dark months I highly recommend some light and very green food to go along with the comfort dishes. And chocolate. Enjoy your roadtrip Kathy!!!

  11. Elisa says:

    Thank you Kathy. I will add that to my list of common sense, the world is not ending now, I should just give up reasoning. I got all of my meds in this morning. I did dishes, put lasagna into the crock pot and I am making a small batch of cookies.

  12. Last night on the news we were treated to astonishing pictures from the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Apparently Lake Superior’s ice is thick enough to walk to frozen “sea caves” for the first time in five years. I was dazzled! I entertained the idea of hiking across the ice to see these natural wonders for a few minutes… It sure would break up the monotony of cabin fever!

    I keep cabin fever at bay by shoveling snow, going out for the mail, and having dark hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey’s every afternoon, curled up with a good book. Oh, and I’m watching far too much of the Home & Garden channel on TV. 🙂

    Have yourself a wonderful romantic weekend in Marquette, Kathy!!!

  13. Heather says:

    Amen, Kathy. I certainly feel like I’m hibernating this year. I’ve been out in this winter more than any other, walking miles and miles each week, but the sameness this year is dragging. I fear I’ve been bitching, too, and might need one of those T-shirts. We do have a trip to Orlando planned, so that will help. I’m sure your stay in a hotel will be wonderful. Probably help you keep your spirits up. (But only if they’ve scrubbed the tub first. teehee)

  14. You and Barry are going to have a BLAST in Marquette. More specifically, the fancy-schmancy hotel with the HOT TUB!

    Take your camera!

  15. It’s no different in the south…it’s been cold and drizzly dreary here (snow on the way today, whooho!) and even I’m ready for spring and flowers, and sunshine, and time outside PHOTOGRAPHING those flowers.

  16. Carol says:

    This year my cabin fever hasn’t struck yet – but I’ve stayed busy and the world here is not snowed in and is not too cold. Enjoy your escape!

  17. john says:

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! How I wish I was UP there already. I bemoan missing winterfest. Timing wise, I have been able to see some Baraga basketball this season, but have not gotten to a single L’Anse game (and it sounds like the girl’s team is doing really well). On the bright side we’re going to the Tech hockey game on Saturday. So many people I want to talk to up there face to face, but am going to have to put that off or settle for phone calls. I have “condo” fever and so wish I was at the house. I can’t wait to clear snow. I long to take a long slow trip through Pat’s shopping and people watching. My relatives harass me telling me I dream of the UP like our great grandparents dreamt of coming to America. Yep, it’s always greener on the other side of the fence.

  18. Happy Valentines Day, as you get away. I really feel for you and all the other people that live in northern climes. Where I live, it is way too cold this winter. The chill factor is about 20 degrees and I feel very tired and weak in my legs. My body does not adust to the temp changes as it should. Anyhow, I’m thankful there is no rain, sleet, or snow. Take care in the hot tub.

  19. Robin says:

    Have a fabulous, wonderful, warm trip, Kathy! I want to give all of you northerners a big, big hug (even though I am, in my heart, missing winter as I grew to know it). I can see it’s been a rough winter for ya’all. We have had chilly, gray weather, and that, to me, is more depressing than snow. I might feel differently, though, if I were in your shoes. And we do have some sunshine today, which has helped. 🙂

  20. Barb says:

    Fun to catch up with you, Kathy. We have record snow here in Breckenridge. If it’s not windy and minus, minus, I’m outdoors enjoying it. It’s only if I’m cooped indoors for days on end that I start wondering why I live at high altitude by choice! Getting away is a great antidote to Cabin Fever that I’ve employed myself. Don’t turn into a prune, Kathy!

  21. dorannrule says:

    That hot tub does sound grand! Hunker down and enjoy the luxury. I am hunkering down in anticipation of a big snow here in Virginia. We are expecting various levels from 6 to 18 inches beginning tomorrow. Maybe shoveling will keep my mind off of cabin fever. 🙂

  22. I’m glad that at least one of us is remaining cheerful! I wouldn’t mind the snow and cold near so much if we had a few sunny days in a row, rather than a few seconds of sunshine per week, if we’re lucky. 😉

  23. Virginia Hagberg says:

    It is getting warm in this part of Colorado. No, I don’t live in the mountains. We did that for many years in Leadville. I wish I was in the UP. I was born and lived there until I was 12. However it has been cold here in Denver until the last couple of days. Just a note to tell you to enjoy your mini vacation and think about us who wish for the beautiful UP

  24. Holly Kreag says:

    Knitting sometimes helps me beat the winter blahs. Sadly, it’s not always an inexpensive hobby (not very physically active either. I joined Curves to take care of that!). 😦 I have also taken to art journaling again. I keep a small watercolor journal and a bunch of good pens to sketch, paint, and jot down whatever I’m thinking, wishing, doing, not doing, etc.

  25. P.j. grath says:

    I only get frustrated by having to stay home when I’ve expected to go somewhere else. When I plan for even a long string of days at home, I’m just fine there.

  26. Karma says:

    I don’t know that I’d call mine cabin fever at this point, since my blues and blahs so far this year really don’t have to do with being stuck inside. Yes, I am stuck inside due to the cold (sadly it is even too cold for the hot tub most evenings lately) but between work and errands and zumba and dance classes I feel like I’ve been out and about enough. My blahs have to do with the unchanging scenery of gray and white. So sick of it. I wanna be a snow bird when I “grow up” – live here in New England for the warm weather and in Florida for the winter.

  27. Oh my! I feel so guilty to say we are going to be at 70 degrees on Saturday here in Albuquerque. But we nevertheless sometimes get cabin fever “just because” and we love a little road trip. Hope you had a great time Kathy!

  28. Yep, cabin fever, I am feeling it too!! 🙂 Beautiful snow photographs and love the shrimp boats! We had 14 inches of snow over the last two days, cabin fever has set in with both of us!

    check out picture of snow from our deck!
    Michael 🙂

  29. I think it miraculous and a testament to your strength of character that you don’t have cabin fever yet! When I lived in New England, I got it bad by February, and yet I made myself walk with the dog every morning (at 20 degrees, 15 degrees, made me mad as —-). I drove to work every day, made good dinners, went out to movies, etc, but I still got cabin fever. Not enough light, too much cold in my bones. My secret to getting out of the dumps? Shhh, I don’t tell anyone, it’s that bad. I’d go to the suntan salon 20 miles away and just give myself 4 minutes to feel those hot dangerous radioactive heat rays. They truly did help my body stay warm for hours.
    Hope the hot tub does the same for you this weekend!

  30. Wildly waving my hand in response to the question, ‘Me!Me! I’m singin’ the cabin fever blues!’ HA! Hang in there!

  31. bearyweather says:

    I finally found some time to write about my “Wintry Rut” … , cabin fever, maybe bear hibernation envy?
    Amazingly, I have not heard people say that they “hate winter”. What I do frequently hear (and feel down in my soul) is “I am so very tired of this winter”. The cold has not backed off .. the local radio announcer was trying to pick up our spirits the other day … “We are going to break a record! We just need three more days of winter vortex and we will have survived an entire month of below zero weather (way below) .. 20 below mornings are now routine. Somehow, we always find a way to adapt to whatever comes our way …

  32. christinelaennec says:

    Have fun! I am very familiar now (after two and a half years of my daughter being mostly housebound) with the absolute NEED to get outside for a bit every day.

  33. I Wilkerson says:

    I am telling myself that since it keeps snowing, the snow never has a chance to get dirty. A whole winter without snirt–how’s that!

  34. Dana says:

    I can suffer from a bit of Cabin Fever in the winter months, Kathy. I find Cabin Fever harder on the west coast, if you can believe it, because at least you can play in snow. It’s harder to play in rain, methinks. I hope the trip to Marquette was just what the doctor ordered! Marty and I visited Marquette way back in 2004 and absolutely adored it. 🙂

  35. Yup, the diagnosis is Cabin Fever, methinks. That’s why I haven’t been as attentive to my blogging buddies as I should have, until now. Here it is, the 31st of March & we still have 3 feet of snow in our yard with the threat of more snowfall, tonight. Any wonder I’m slowly going crazy? I know you’ve had similar cold, snowy conditions all winter, so I applaud your cheerfulness and ability to remain optimistic when it seems that this year, winter may never end!

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