The days are short, the nights are cold, and you are probably bored out of your skull. If you are like many new homesteaders, myself included, you are chomping at the bit for spring and summer. There is no big garden harvests and sunlight is at a premium. But there are a ton of ways to deal with cabin fever as we wait for spring and summer.
What Is Cabin Fever
My definition of cabin fever is simply being stuck at home too long. For someone more outgoing, it’s probably spending a day or two at home unable to leave. For those of us at prefer to be home, it’s usually the boredom that comes with winter. There’s not a whole lot to do in the winter because winter is a time of rest.
If you think about the seasons, spring is the season of new beginnings. Livestock is laboring. Plants are starting to sprout. We are ALMOST ready to put the gardens in. Summer is the season of rush, rush, RUSH. There’s gardens to plant, fertilize, harvest, and preserve. Animals are getting fat for butchering. Fall is the mad dash to get everything finished up. Livestock is being butchered. Gardens are in their final stages before buttoning them up for winter. Kitchens are completely taken over by canning supplies, produce, and complete insanity. Firewood is being stacked for the cold months ahead.
But winter? That is the time to sit back and reflect. It’s the time to sit in front of the fire and enjoy time with your family. It’s the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
It’s also the time where I am ready to go insane. I am a very type A person and I don’t do well with idle time. I always want to be doing something. So I decided to share the things I do to deal with cabin fever in hope that you can take advantage of them and not go insane.
How To Prevent Or Deal With Cabin Fever
I am a planner. I love to sit down, organize my thoughts and goals. I like to use Bullet Journals to keep me on track with what I’m doing. Since they are fully customizable, they are the only planner that I use. That way when spring comes around, I can just start doing. This is also the time that I start looking back at my garden journal to see what did well, what didn’t and so on. Also, I will start looking at various seed companies like Territorial Seed Company and Eden Brother’s to see what seeds they have, and when to order. I will also make lists of things that need to be done, things that worked or didn’t, and all the other type A planning that goes with a homestead.
Since winter is the best time to do in home projects, I start looking at our infrastructure list and see what I can work on. Usually it has something to do with filling cracks in the paneling and painting, though this year it’s probably going to be flooring. Another project that we will be working on is organizing the basement… again…. yay…. I’m not super excited about that one.
At this point in the year, I usually have several goats that are pregnant. So I hang out with them and make sure they are doing ok. This really helps to deal with cabin fever simply because they are amazing and are very expensive therapy. I also check on their hay levels and our feed stores and start tracking how much hay they have used, and start planning on what they will need for next year. I will also keep an eye on their bedding and pine shaving stores to see how much we are going through.
I try really hard to keep everything organized throughout the year but let’s be real, the only downtime I have is winter and spring so I usually organize the house and declutter sometime in December and again in March. I call it my winter and spring cleaning. This is also when I put up or bring out the flannel sheets, heavier blankets/ curtains, etc. Another thing I do is organize my deep freezers so that I know how much meat we have, used, and how much more we need for the following year. Lastly, I go through my canning jars and supplies to start looking at what was eaten, how much and how many jars I have left.
Lastly, I can to help pass the time. Usually I will get about 50# of beans and peas and can them so that I don’t have to mess with them later. Since dried peas and beans are shelf stable on their own, I don’t have to worry about them in the height of canning season (July through September). I will also can soup left overs so that I have extras on hand. I will also work on breaking down any bulk purchases of flour, sugar, mesa and rice.
Whatever you do to deal with cabin fever, just remember it’s temporary. The spring and summer rush will come and you will be praying for the boredom of winter. Be sure to leave a comment below about how you deal with cabin fever!