So the cold weather is upon us and the number of daylight hours is getting progressively shorter. This usually means we are less likely to venture out of the house and more likely to hide in our sweatpants and oversized sweaters all snuggled up on the couch. Winter is a long season and often times patients can get cabin fever. Staying indoors all the time can lead to mindless eating, less activity, and even depression which can all lead to weight gain. During the winter you can feel restless, bored and discontent. You can start to feel anxious to get out of the house, but not motivated to do so.
All of the above can apply to anyone, but the bariatric post op patient has to deal not only with feeling cooped up, but also with being able to stay on track.
Pitfalls that should be avoided:
- Baking goodies/sweets
- Having hot chocolate
- Purchasing food in advance, in case of a storm
- Staying on the couch all day just because the weather is cold
Now the good news is that there are a few suggestions we can give to help you deal with cabin fever.
1. Get some fresh air. When you are in a rutt and don’t feel like moving out of the house, one of the best cures is to go outside and get some fresh air. Even just stepping outside for a few minutes can help. If it’s not too cold, go for a quick walk around the block. A change of scenery and some fresh air will do amazing things for those suffering from cabin fever. If you have children, go sleigh riding or ice skating, enjoy the outdoor activities.
2. Go for a quick car ride. If it’s too cold to go outside, take a car ride to remove yourself from the house for a few minutes. Listening to upbeat music in the car can help as well.
3. Go shopping. If you are unable to participate in outdoor activities, head to a mall. You can shop, browse, or walk laps in the mall. Getting out of the house is the main objective.
4. Stay busy. If you are unable to leave the house due to unsafe conditions, find something to occupy your time. Try reading, organizing a kitchen cabinet or cleaning out that closet that has been calling you for a while. You can watch a good movie with your family. If you have exercise equipment in the house do some physical activity.
The goal is to be as productive as you can to avoid feeling lazy and bored. One of the most effective ways to beat cabin fever is to avoid it before it starts. Make a list in the late fall of things you have wanted to accomplish all year, but never had the time and start those activities when the weather gets bad. Now go get active!