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How To Combat Cabin Fever Through Introspection!  RSS feed

 
steward
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I wrote an article for Brink of Freedom magazine. It's all about being cooped up during the winter and how to take advantage of that by using it as a time for personal growth and mental health instead of just merely enduring the winter months being miserable.

Click here to read the article.

 
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Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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Well in SE Australia we are facing another sweltering summer where we see temperatures of 45C for a week at a time, this is our time to hole up and shelter from the extreme heat.
It's the time I use to catch up with reading, in between early morning and late evening activities (mainly watering).
I find it hard to imagine being snowed in.
Great article Cassie. Very thoughtfully written.
 
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You guys, winter is awesome! Winter is the time you get to sit down and do winter work! It's time to spin and knit and carve and weave and mend and study and play tunes and all that stuff there is never time to do when the proper work in other seasons is outside and physical. Guilt free, even, because it's too wet or cold or whatever to do anything else. All those ideas you had moiling around in your head while you were weeding or whatever? Now is the time you can get to them, and if you can't actually work on them you can figure out what needs to be done to work on them when it's the right time.

And winter food is so awesome! Think about how amazing the first delicata tastes, just as amazing in a different way as the first spring greens, but only because you haven't been eating it all the time. Consider all the ways to eat cabbage, potatoes, carrots, beets, beans and cabbage and potatoes and carrots and beets and beans...Winter is the time you get to be creative with cooking because you have a limited pallete to work with and because you have enough time to do more than just make something edible to scarf down before you head back outside to work. Every once in a while you can go to someone else's house for dinner and appreciate how they have a whole set of different ways to cook those same basic ingredients. Wow! And the oven is ready to go at any time, day or night, if you have a cookstove you're heating with, so all those baked things it was too hot to crank the fire up for are available as almost "fast food".

Winter is the time you get to wear all the clothes you really like--all those great sweaters and socks and things that it's too bloody hot to wear in the summer. No worries about body image, everyone looks the same under several layers of clothes, and you can always tell what a visitor's intentions are by how many layers he or she sheds when they come in, so you know whether to put the kettle on and make tea or not. And it's so nice to cuddle up under the covers with a couple hot water bottles and a cat or two and feel that little nip of cold air on your nose.

Each season brings a parade of food and work that belongs to it. What a treat each thing is if you have to wait for it to come around each year at its appointed time. I am not immune to the dark and the mud and the hassles of winter, but each season has those kinds of things about it. I dislike the hot weather and the yellowjackets just as much. I just try to not to mix up the seasons, and take each one as it comes, and do the work of the day, whatever it is.
 
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Hi Cassie,
Nice article. I think this is a great topic. As people's lives are now in cubicles, video games, and mall courts, they lose the rhythym and benefit of each season. To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven, to quote the man upstairs, Pete Seeger, and the Byrds.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
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I agree that having a plan is a great idea and there is plenty to do and learn in the winter. The reality for many of us is that Seasonal Affective Disorder resulting from short daylength of low intensity light causes clinical depression. The dread and melancholy are real physical symptoms. We have to address that before there is any chance of using the rest of the time productively. Looking directly at a full spectrum light or the reflection of it off something like the pages of a book held close to the light allows the rays to enter the eye. On bright sunny days, sitting at the window in the sunshine and enjoying the view is a good choice. Studies show it is most affective if done early in the day. If you can muster the ambition to get outside and exercise as well as getting light it also helps. I started keeping chickens so that I had to rally enough to go out everyday to feed them. Increasing consumption of B vitamins helps as well. They are found in dark green leafy vegetables. By February, I sometimes have to do the light therapy for up to an hour and a half a day. All of this has to do with the production of serotonin triggered when light enters your eye. The nice way this fits in with your suggestions is that while you get your daily dose of full spectrum light you have time to read, sketch out plans, by introspective, etc. One of the important factors in dealing with depression is for everyone to be educated to know that it is not the result of someone being lazy or not tough enough. The exciting news with SAD is that the most effective treatment does not require drugs most of the time. I hope anyone who struggles with winter meloncholy will get the help and support they need and be able to take advantage of all the great ideas in your articles.
 
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Location: The forest, Sweden. Zone 7. Sandy, acidic soils.
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Thanks for sharing that article!

I often find myself wondering what folks/homesteaders did in the past during the long winter months... before computers, electricity or any of the rest.

I think that it might have included a lot of introspection, but I think also it meant learning and understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others - family, friends. Winter; the season for person-care and person-understanding... but also a time when new ideas can be pondered, things which have happened can be discussed and problems shared.

See winter as hibernation period in preperation for the long days of summer when more physical areas of work require our attention.
 
John Saltveit
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If you;'re in a mild winter climate like I am, there are still many things to do throughout the winter. FOr example, I'm sending out the compost, refilling the bins with leaves, then I'm going to mineralize, cover weeds with newspaper, then get some wood chips, I'm growing mushrooms in buckets all winter, then I'll start drilling more logs with dowels for mushrooms. I also have to move all the plants, take scions for sharing, some pruning of kiwis and grapes before they bleed, make and set up mason bee homes, harvest root vegetables and make sauerkraut out of them, make cuttings of growable scions, start whip and tongue grafting in February and continue heavily through April. There are green leafy plants to harvest all winter long as well as mushrooms in the fall/winter. While I'm eating down the supply of storage apples, I try to read as many books and play as much music as I can.

Traditionally, I think that storytelling and firemaking were big hobbies as well.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Winter is the best time to do many forest improvements. Leaves are off the deciduous trees and evergreen sap isn't flowing. Time to prune timber trees to 18 ft, so future lumber is free of knots. Areas with deep snow benefit from a smoothing of the humps and bumps. Bushes and other ground clutter are buried under the blanket. Congratulations, you are several feet taller. This makes pruning go very quickly. You need snowshoes.

My relatives in Ontario, own timber that grows on bog. No forestry work is done in summer. It would create a muddy mess. After a hard freeze, they can drive quads and horses and easily access the wood.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Isa Delahunt wrote:And winter food is so awesome! Wow! And the oven is ready to go at any time, day or night, if you have a cookstove you're heating with, so all those baked things it was too hot to crank the fire up for are available as almost "fast food".



SO TRUE! Not even one I thought of. I love hot meals and they truly are so comforting.

Winter is the time you get to wear all the clothes you really like--all those great sweaters and socks and things that it's too bloody hot to wear in the summer. No worries about body image, everyone looks the same under several layers of clothes



Love this insight. Again, SO true and amazing. I love bundling up.

 
Cassie Langstraat
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Sarah Loy wrote: One of the important factors in dealing with depression is for everyone to be educated to know that it is not the result of someone being lazy or not tough enough. The exciting news with SAD is that the most effective treatment does not require drugs most of the time. I hope anyone who struggles with winter meloncholy will get the help and support they need and be able to take advantage of all the great ideas in your articles.



I want to make it VERY clear that I do not think people with seasonal depression or any kind of depression are lazy, AT ALL. I am glad you brought that up though because it is something that people tend to believe, that it has something to do with laziness and that is not the case at all.

I do think that taking the time to really let yourself look inward, even if it is bleak, is a good thing though and can be super cathartic for anyone.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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kai weeks wrote:

I think that it might have included a lot of introspection, but I think also it meant learning and understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others - family, friends. Winter; the season for person-care and person-understanding... but also a time when new ideas can be pondered, things which have happened can be discussed and problems shared.



I'm glad you brought up feelings of others. I definitely focused on personal growth mainly but relationship growth is SOOO important too. One of my best friends and I always have conversations about how to make our relationship better and how to support each other better and those conversations are really hard to have sometimes but they ALWAYS make us closer and always make us grow individually as well.
 
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