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Simple cures for cabin fever

Daniel McCarthy

With the blizzard of 2015 still sweeping across New England, travel bans and school closures are keeping many people shuttered inside their homes today, potentially prompting cabin fever.

If you're homebound and experiencing symptoms of irritability, restlessness or are simply feeling stir crazy, here are a few ideas to get you out of your rut.

1. Go play! The simplest cure for cabin fever is getting outside and enjoying nature. Studies show that spending time in nature can improve cognitive functioning and overall well-being. Bundle up in warm layers, wear a hat, scarf and waterproof boots and take a walk in the snow. Come back inside before your fingers and toes start tingling and going numb--that's an early sign of frostbite.

2. Take a nap. The Centers for Disease Control calls insufficient sleep "a public health epidemic." There are conflicting reports about how much Americans sleep. A recent Gallup Survey reports that the typical American gets 6 hours and 48 minutes of sleep a night, while the most recent U.S Department of Labor's Amerian Time Use Survey says we're clocking 8 hours and 42 minutes. If you're logging closer to 6 hours a night, and finding yourself drowsy during the day you may be sleep deprived. Your body and brain do most of their healing work in deep rest, so take this blizzard-induced house arrest to get some much needed beauty rest.

3. Get frisky. An improved mood is just one benefit of having sex. Research shows that neurotransmitters in the brain that can be released during healthy sex may elevate mood. Good sex is also connected to heart health, stress reduction, pain relief and better sleep. So, if you're stuck inside with your lover and a power outage today, light some candles. Getting it on may be good for your health. And don't worry if you're not into making a "blizzard baby," there's no hard evidence to suggest that big snowstorms lead to measurable spikes in birthrates.

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