Article - Keeping Cabin Fever At Bay
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Regardless of the reason or the season, there are times when any one of us can feel trapped in the comfort of our own home. Called cabin fever, this phenomenon occurs when factors beyond our control force us inside for prolonged periods of time...like when it's too cold or snowy, too hot and humid to go outside, or when we are ill or recovering from surgery. The best cure for cabin fever is to participate in a hobby that captures your interest.
The key is to choose an active hobby rather than a passive one. Physical limitations, whether caused by aging or illness, do not necessarily limit one to passive activities. Many people turn to television or the radio to cure what ails them. But even the hundreds of television channels now available can lose their appeal after several days indoors. Boredom can quickly turn to irritability and irritability may ultimately rear its head at those we love the most.
In an effort to preserve both our sanity and close relationships, fighting cabin fever must become a priority. With the right helpers, activities such as playing cards, needlecraft and woodworking can be resumed - with gusto.
Whether numbers and letters have become too small to see or parts too difficult to grasp, Dynamic Living offers the following alternatives to make hobbies a little easier and a lot more accessible.
Tip - Experiment with new variations on an old theme:
Anyone with a long-time hobby develops their own preference for tools and techniques. However, there will be times when the process or tools have to be adjusted to suit your current needs. While the change may feel uncomfortable at first, it will allow you to continue enjoying your hobby for a long time.
Tip - Adapt before you invest:
You don't have to spend a fortune on new tools. Common household supplies can make many gadgets more accessible. Insert tool handles into the foam rubber used for pipe insulation to make them more comfortable to hold. This inexpensive material already has a hole about 1-inch in diameter and is pre-slit for easy application. It is available at most building supply stores and hardware stores.
People with a very limited grasp can attach small tools to their wrists and forearms with splints or with long strips of material. Or wrap a washcloth around a handle and secure it with rubber bands. Another option is to relocate the table vise from the garage or basement tool bench to a place that is more convenient for everyday use.
Tip - Shed a little light on the subject:
Use a high intensity desk lamp or other focused task lighting to help illuminate what you are working on.
Tip - Learn while you listen:
Due to the popularity of learning while driving, the variety of books available on tape has expanded over the past few years. Most local libraries house a substantial selection of fiction and non-fiction, including business-oriented tapes. This is a wonderful method of learning something new or delving deeper into an existing area of interest.
Tip - Keep everything within reach:
With a little planning, you can create an area to hold all your materials and tools, thereby eliminating frequent and frantic searches for misplaced items. For small projects, a basket or decorated box can store what you need and keep your home neat when you're not working on your hobby.
While those general tips are useful for the majority of people, others with specific physical limitations need a little extra help. Whether you have difficulty seeing or performing certain motor skills, there are products that may offer some relief.
For help with holding:
Playing card or book holders - for hands-free playing and reading.
Specially designed craft clamps hold an item in a fixed position.
Tools and paint brushes with wider handles for an easier grasp.
For help with seeing:
Low Vision playing cards - bigger numbers and color codes make these cards fun to play with.
Magnifiers - hands-free and table varieties help with small print and close-up tasks.
Needle threader - pushes the thread right into the eye of the needle.
For help with mobility:
Battery-operated card shuffler - makes it easy to ready up to 4 decks of cards.
Pedal exerciser - an indoor, bicycle-style exerciser that lets you pedal from your sofa, or use on a table for your arms.
So when you're caught inside for any period of time, take the time to reacquaint yourself with hobbies that you once loved. Or adapt new hobbies to your needs. Being busy can be helpful, healthful and fun!
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