Cabin Fever: When The outdoors becomes indoors

Cabin fever: the feeling of being trapped for too long in too small a space, unable to go outside because it’s freezing and dumping snow. Spend enough time like this and you start to get a little stir-crazy. As we come to the beginning of spring, here are a few ways to beat the last dregs of cabin fever:

Embrace the beast:

We all know what it’s like to wish for spring. After four months of winter, feet of snow and days where you have to scrape ice off your windows every morning, you start to remember what it’s like to be able to go outside without wearing three shirts, two pairs of pants, thick socks, gloves, a hat and two jackets. Of course, there are those people who go out in shorts in the middle of winter anyway, but their blood is far warmer than mine will ever be, and if you’re going out in shorts then you’re probably not getting cabin fever in the first place.

Embrace your situation. Winter is a time for relaxation like no other season. It’s the perfect excuse to spend every night on the couch with a blanket watching Netflix. Catch up on your shows, catch up on emails, break out “Settlers of Catan” or “Cards Against Humanity.” Start that new show you’ve been meaning to watch. Cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate and crank up the volume!

Punch cabin fever right in the face

For those of us without the shorts-in-winter gene, it still pays to take a leaf out of their book. Bundle up and go sledding — go ice skating, go ice fishing, go snowshoeing. You can still enjoy the outdoors in winter; all is not lost just because there’s snow on the ground. Rent a snowmobile for a day, have a snowball fight. If you’re out and about, then cabin fever will have no real hold on you.

Illustration by Sonja Benton
Illustration by Sonja Benton

Plan for Spring

This is probably my favorite part of winter. Especially now, spring is right around the corner. You know that three-day backpacking trip you’ve been thinking about doing? Winter is the perfect time to bust out the maps and plan your route. Build your list of lakes to fish in the summer. Plan out your first elk hunt for the fall. Tie flies for spring. Part of beating cabin fever is remembering that it’s a temporary situation. I know it may not seem like after a long winter, but the changing of the seasons is as certain as sunrise and sunset.

Last but not least: go to the hot springs

Nothing helps kick cabin fever like steaming hot spring water. It’s the most natural hot shower you’ll ever take. It’s also a great place for a date. Bozeman Hot Springs is close, but if you want the real deal, go to Norris or Chico. Norris Hot Springs is gorgeous, especially at night, and on weekends they have live bands. Be careful on the drive up, but spending a night under the stars with live music playing and snow coming down is an experience you will never forget.