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Crafting Your Way Through Cabin Fever

Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips for using knitting or crochet to relieve the restlessness of cabin fever this winter. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here

We’ve survived the Polar Vortex but winter is really just beginning. There are a lot of days ahead when we might be stuck in the house because of the weather. You might get gripped by cabin fever; that restless, anxious, irritable feeling that we all sometimes get when we’re stuck inside for too long. Crocheting or knitting can be the best way to alleviate that feeling.

What is Cabin Fever?

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The first thing to do is recognize that you have cabin fever! Cabin fever, which typically happens when you’re inside for an extended period of time, often due to extreme outdoor weather conditions, is characterized by:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Extreme feelings of restlessness
  • A strong desire to get away from the people
    who are with you
  • Frustration, defensiveness and annoyance
    with those people
  • Extreme boredom; nothing feels like fun to do
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of depression

It helps to be aware that these feelings might be caused by cabin fever because then you can recognize what it is and do something about it!

How Crafting Helps

Your crochet and knitting can help you fight off these feelings when you’re stuck inside this winter. Here are some of the reasons these crafts help:

  • They channel your restlessness into the physical motion of the craft.
  • They provide you a way to “get away” from everyone else around you without actually leaving the space.
  • Crafting offers a productive, creative outlet for your negative feelings.
  • Focusing on the creative things you can do with your craft helps switch up the routine and re-routes boredom.
  • Hands-on crafting has been proven to ward off symptoms of depression for a number of reasons including that it helps break negative cycles of rumination, increases serotonin production and serves as meditation.

Tips for Crafting Away Cabin Fever

Any attention to your crafting during cabin fever will help make it go away but here are some special tips to help you make the most of being inside this winter:

  • Take on more challenging projects. This helps to entertain your mind.
  • Work with your favorite yarns. The tactile and visual pleasure of the work will help break the monotony of cabin fever.
  • Institute a “quiet crafting time” in your home. This gives everyone a break from each other even though you’re all stuck inside.
  • Crochet or knit something for someone you love. It reminds you to feel love and gratitude despite the cabin fever. Winter is a great time to make prayer shawls!
  • Join a CAL or KAL online. Any online crafting community can help you feel like you’re “getting outside” even though you’re still at home.
  • Bring nature into your craft space where possible. Move your chair close to a window, set up some indoor plants and do your crafting near those natural inspirations.
  • Crochet or knit yourself something really cozy. Embrace the cold darkness of winter and make it nicer for yourself in this way. Whether it’s a crochet mug cozy or a rich knit blanket, it can warm you through and through.

Have you ever experienced cabin fever? In what ways do you think knitting or crochet can help? Share your stories in the comments below as inspiration for others going through this tough experience!

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