Healthy habits to build into chilly, dreary days

Cabin fever is generally described as irritability and listlessness resulting from being confined indoors during the winter. And in Minnesota, cabin fever can run rampant.

To stop complaining from becoming your most popular winter hobby, try these ideas to beat the blues:

Play outside

Get out and get some fresh air. It can be a quick walk around the block or a longer stroll around a lake with friends. It can be making snow angels with your family. Or it could be a brisk sprint to and from the mailbox.

The Twin Cities are home to miles and miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Sign up for lessons and rent equipment at the Wirth Winter Recreation Area, the Como Park Ski Center, and at several Three Rivers Parks.

Sign kids up for outdoor adventures. They’ll experience fun activities at YMCA Day Camps this winter:

Head to an outdoor ice rink managed by the Minneapolis and St. Paul park and recreation boards—most have warming houses and some have free skate rental on a first-come, first-served basis.

Get active indoors

When the weather is too brutal to be outside, take a cue from summer and head to the pool—an indoor pool, anyway. Aquatic features at YMCAs in the Twin Cities include indoor pools, waterslides, whirlpools, steam rooms and saunas.

Make workouts a regular part of your winter routine. Sign up for an indoor sports league to burn calories and meet new people. The Y offers a variety of sports leagues for adults and kids.

Step away from the screen and host an impromptu dance party in your house. Dancing will not only keep you active, but energetic music can help lift your spirits, too.

Head to the kitchen

It can be tempting to comfort yourself with rich, high-calorie foods when the weather outside is frightful, however, you can give your body a real boost with these nutritious options:

  • Oatmeal is a whole grain that’s rich in fiber and plant-based protein.
  • Stir up a pot of chili—and consider raiding the spice rack for some “heat.”

Drinking a warm beverage can help warm you up from the inside out. Instead of coffee or cocoa, try ginger tea.