Laker Cents: Beating Cabin Fever

Winter FOMO: it’s a real thing.

In case you don’t know, FOMO is a popular acronym for “Fear of Missing Out.” It’s that familiar feeling you get when your friends and family are off doing exciting, envy-inducing activities while maybe you’re holding off trying to save some extra cash. With February just getting started, it’s beginning to feel like winter will never end…and the urge to get out and do something is nagging you.

While this “cabin fever” feeling can be a downer, especially when your budget doesn’t allow a fancy getaway to Jamaica or a road trip, there are ways to rejuvenate without spending a lot of money.

It doesn’t always have to be something free, but it can be something that doesn’t hurt your wallet to say “yes” to.

Idea #1 – Find an activity you love and go once a week.
Maybe you’ve found a yoga or workout class, a book club, painting class, or another activity that meets weekly and doesn’t charge a fortune. Allowing yourself to go and do something you love at least once a week will give you something to look forward to and re-energize you when it’s over.

Idea #2 – Get. Outside. 
Yes, it’s freezing out – but winter does bring some beautiful, sunny days where the chill isn’t as bad. Take advantage of these days, bundle up, and get outside. Meet a friend at the park for a walk, take a stroll with your dog, or play outside with your kids for a half hour. Nothing makes you appreciate cabin fever like not being able to feel your toes. The best part about getting outside? It’s absolutely free.

Idea #3 – Go out, but get creative!
If you feel the need to simply get outside the house and be anywhere else, do a little research. Check which restaurants are having deals or specials that night. Go out for appetizers and split the cost with friends. Drive (in moderation) to a nearby city where you don’t always get to go for a change of scenery and try a restaurant there. Sometimes, those extra couple of miles in driving are worth putting a little distance between you and your case of the winter blues.

Idea #4 – Fill your “cabin” with friends.
Cabin fever can often be brought on by feeling bored, lethargic, or lonely. Take an evening and invite your friends over for pizza, games, and a movie night. Go and pick out your movie and stop for pizza so you’re forced to leave the house for a bit. It might seem a bit counter-productive to combat cabin fever by staying home, but sometimes the presence of your loved ones can completely turn the feeling around. Remember, it isn’t a place – it’s a feeling.

Idea #5 – Start a budget for your next big trip.
During the dead of winter, you’re more than likely daydreaming about all of the places you want – and wish – to go. You might not be able to go very soon, but this is a great opportunity to start planning to make your dream trip a reality. Set a goal date for the trip and look at your expenses and income to determine if it’s realistic. Open a vacation savings account at your financial institution and start contributing weekly to it, if you can.

By this time next year, you could be reading this post from a beach chair.

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