By Erin McNelis

Winter is in its last stretch, but sometimes that doesn't feel like enough. When it is really cold and grey outside, cabin fever starts to creep in. Feeling cooped up and irritable for no reason, a lack of motivation, and an inability to concentrate mean that it is time to do something. The best ways to get over cabin fever are to seek out natural light and get your brain going again. Try some of the activities listed below. We can't promise that they will work, but they might make you feel a little better until you can really get out and enjoy yourself again.

Try welcoming a green friend into your space. When all you see is brown and grey, a pop of green can make a difference. As a bonus, plants improve the air quality in your home. Start with easy-going plants like pothos, Madagascar dragon tree, or a snake plant. They don't require a lot of light, and they aren't picky about other plant requirements, either. They can help you dream of spring.

Play, even if you don't have kids, but especially if you do. Get out an old board game or try a new one. The branches of the Bucks County Library offer board games to check out just like books. Play hide and seek. Build a blanket fort. Anything light-hearted that engages your imagination and is different from the normal daily routine can get you feeling out of the dumps and back to your old self.

Clean. It might not be the most fun, but it can really help morale if some of the dust of winter is banished. Cleaning the clutter and organizing is satisfying and gives you a sense of accomplishment. If you use cleaners or essential oils in scents that you enjoy, that can lift your mood, too.

Read a new book. It is true that a book can transport you to a place you have never been. Sit by a window and read a book like Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. It is about a mother/daughter road trip. Beginner's Greek by James Collins is a sweet romance that takes place on an airplane, and A Walk in the Woods is a non-fiction account of author Bill Bryson's hike of the Appalachian Trail. With any book by your side you can take a step out of your own, cabin fevered head and take a step into someone else's.

And if all else fails, actually leave the house. Even if it is cold and grey and miserable, get bundled up like you did when you were a kid until you can barely move, and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Turn your face to the sun (or where you think the sun might be hiding behind the clouds), and enjoy the fresh air, even if it is just for ten minutes.  A walk in the winter is a different path than one in the summer, too, so your brain will be seeing your surroundings in a different way. The bare trees open lines of sight, and you might see animal tracks or winter birds that you don't see in the spring and summer. The air and the exercise will give your spirits a double lift.

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