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Polar vortex causing cabin fever

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Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area. The definition describes what many of us are feeling at this time of the year thanks to a prolonged, cold, Wisconsin winter.

Much of the United States have been plunged into an unusual weather cycle. As the coldest air in 20 years surges into major population centers in the United States, many are raising eyebrows over its rare cause: the positioning of the polar vortex. A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season.

This unusually cold weather results in being cooped up inside more than normal, causing boredom and restlessness. Cabin fever strikes even the most upbeat folks, so don’t feel alone in your insanity. Don’t sit and wallow in it, either. Find a way you can combat the situation. Here are a few ideas you can try:

Sleep a lot. Bears hibernate for months on end and there is nothing stopping you from mimicking that behavior. That’s what winter is for. Sleeping is a great form of escape and also a way to rest up for the exciting spring and summer ahead. If you can’t fall asleep on cue, help it along by reading boring materials, like the financial pages, or get some meditation CDs that help you relax.

Take long baths. Baths are another form of escape that relax, kill time and just make you feel good. Make it your business to buy lots of bubble bath, oils and other fun stuff you can put in the tub. Do a bathtub shopping spree every fall to stock up for the winter ahead. Make sure to include incense, classical music CDs and scented candles.

Indulge in a hobby. Once you're done sleeping and bathing, dig out something fun to do. Perhaps you love to knit but haven’t touched the needles in ages. Maybe you want to brush up on your painting skills. Even less creative endeavors, like organizing that closet that always has stuff falling out on your head, can keep you busy and feeling productive.

Go outside anyway. When you’ve taken all the indoors you can take, suit up and go out. Try to pick a day that is not infused with a raging storm and make sure to dress properly. Hat, gloves, boots, thick coat, long johns, scarf—go for the works. Bring your camera for some winter shots which you can spend hours making a collage out of when you get back.

If all else fails, get out of town. The most drastic of cabin fever cases will benefit greatly from a ticket to the Bahamas. If you cannot afford such a trip, take a mini-vacation to a spa, gym or even a shopping mall where you can move around and revitalize yourself.

Cabin fever isn’t usually fatal, but it may feel like it when it’s you experiencing it. When I feel like the four walls are closing in on me I brew myself a cup of hot chocolate and curl up in the chair with a good book. Winter isn’t fun when the cold spells seem to last forever but with some creativeness you can pass the time until spring returns and you can venture outside with less layers and feel the sun warm your cheeks.

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