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Life Happens: Cabin fever-busters, Buffalo style

Cabin fever is a common malady in the northern regions of our country.

Here in Western New York, we have had a couple of pretty nice winters, during the last few years. This season is not one of them. The recent storm that struck our area brought it all back for us.

We apparently need to pull those cabin fever-coping skills out of our survival kits and prepare for polar vortexes and other blizzard-related weather patterns.

When the wind is howling, the snow is blinding and the roadways are closed, what are some ways that people handle being stuck inside, sometimes for days? Providing, of course, that the power is still on. No power puts an entirely different spin on the phrase “survival skills.”

I took to the streets, once they were plowed, and asked people, “What do you do when cabin fever sets in?”

Twenty people answered my question; overall, everyone was very upbeat and resourceful, in their coping strategies. You can’t get us down, here in the frozen North.

Many individuals took this weather-imposed downtime as an opportunity to do relaxing things that they do not ordinarily get the chance to enjoy. These activities included curling up with a good book, having a movie marathon or baking.

Catching up on laundry, playing on the Internet and doing some online shopping are also very popular endeavors. Playing board games with the kids, who are enjoying their snow days, is a nice way to reconnect and enjoy time together.

A few orderly souls like to get a jump on spring cleaning. “Why waste beautiful spring weather on cleaning?” was the general consensus. I can see the wisdom in that.

The gardeners among us got out the seed catalogs and planned summer gardens, with large sheets of paper, pencils, rulers and crayons or colored pencils. This project is perfect for days when that wind is howling outside. The thought of such a fun task makes me almost wish I liked to garden.

Some people embraced the weather and still got out of the house every day, for at least a few minutes, even if was to just walk in the snow.

For those of us who shovel, being out there in the weather is a given. In that case, a nice hot cup of cocoa and a time of rest in the warmth of home after a shoveling session is a welcome respite.

Many of us who deal with the winter weather year after year practice productive cabin fever management.

Instead of looking at blizzards, driving bans and snow days as limiting our activity, we tend to embrace the time as an intermission in our otherwise busy lives. It may be forced upon us at random intervals, but as long as we have power and heat, this hiatus is also a chance to relax, recharge and do the little things we never get a chance to accomplish.

I’ll remember that, as I pace back and forth and wait for spring.
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