It’s the inevitable question that comes up in every small talk conversation – “So, how have you been?”. It’s safe, generic, and is often answered with some boring like “okay”, “good”, “meh”, etc. Since we had a lot of holiday celebrations over the past few weeks I found myself answering the question repeatedly. My answer wasn’t one of the generics though, although it wasn’t much better. I found myself constantly saying “cooped up”.

A little background on my current situation: it’s winter in Wisconsin, I work from home, and I am your classic ENTJ personality (think extroverted and action-taking). Oh, I’m also pregnant, but trying not to use it as an excuse for too many things, even though it gets easier as the watermelon on my belly grows. Anyways, what I’m trying to say is WINTER IS DRIVING ME CRAZY. I feel like I’m not being social enough, enjoying my city enough, or keeping my body happy enough. You with me?

Luckily, as I said before I’m extroverted and action-taking. These traits have led to me discussing my woes with a lot of caring friends and family, and attempting to put measures in place to combat them. While this isn’t a guaranteed battle plan, here’s what’s worked for me so far to help keep things moving and happy lately:

  • Set recurring friend dates. One friend and I have a set walking date every four weeks. I just made plans with another that we would go to a different cool event in our city every month. I’m also going to ask a colleague who works from home if they want to have a bi-weekly library work session together. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I live by my calendar. Once you’re in you’re in, and it’s a guarantee to get some social time in without even having to put forth much effort.
  • Turn those second and third-degree friends into first-degree friends. You know who I’m talking about – the people that you see whenever you hang out with so-and-so and are maybe even friends on Facebook with. You like them, you’ve hung out, but haven’t pulled the trigger. So go ahead and ask your mutual first-degree friend for some help in setting up a group date and don’t look back!
  • Set goals for the day or week. I love a good list and even more, I love crossing things off of it. Setting a goal of completing even just one thing for a day or a few things during the week will leave you feeling surprisingly accomplished. In fact, finishing this blog post this week is on the list for me! Whether it’s related to exercise, work tasks, or home cleaning, you’ll feel better about how you’ve spent your time and feel less guilty about those Netflix binges.
  • Regarding exercise and taking care of your body.. do what makes sense for you. For me personally, my happy place right now is a nice walk while listening to a podcast. If it’s a reasonable temperature I’ll bundle up and go outside, otherwise hit the treadmill at my local Y. For some it’s more intense than that, and for others it’s more about taking care of your body through nutrition, meditation, and any other method that keeps you going. My goal right now is around three times a week. Just do what makes you feel good.

While I haven’t been able to combat my cabin fever entirely, I’ve found that these things have really been able to give it a kick in the butt. I hope you can find something that might work for you, or I’d even love to hear about other methods you’ve tried. Stay warm and sane out there friends!