Joanne Palmer: Tricks to combat winter blues |

Joanne Palmer: Tricks to combat winter blues

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— The second ice age is upon us! The snow is piling up, another arctic blast is bearing down, and the only reasonable course of action seems to be to stay inside, crank up the Lady Gaga tunes and bake endless batches of chocolate chip cookies. Or ski the powder. Or build a snow ark. Or count the minutes, seconds and nanoseconds until Girl Scout cookies arrive.

Cabin fever has hit. Hard. There are walls of snow building up along sidewalks. Without a ladder, it may be impossible to remove one more flake.

Business is booming for chiropractors, snowplow operators and retailers who sell snorkels, Sorels and shovels.

Bad year not to have a pass.

I'm fine, really just fine. Hunky-dory.

I have logged thousands of hits to the Club Med website. I have even entered their contest for a free vacation. I have a recurring fantasy that I will wake up to discover that a generous soul has donated 1 million frequent flyer miles to me so I could pick up and go wherever and whenever the spirit moved me.

Recommended Stories For You

All I ask is for one day of sun.

Just one day, and I'll be fine, really, just fine. Hunky-dory.

According to Wikipedia, symptoms of cabin fever include "restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfulness, laughter, excessive sleeping, distrust of anyone they are with and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow or dark." I think the "irrational frustration with everyday objects" best describes my symptoms. It's the sudden and irrepressible desire to pick up the TV and hurl it against the wall when the announcer whines about the tough winter the East Coast is enduring.

But I am fine, really, just fine. Hunky-dory.

For those of you who, like me, don't have a ski pass and are struggling to find the silver lining in the snow clouds, I will share my cabin fever strategies.

■ Zumba. Zumba bills itself as a dance-fitness party. It is a Latin-inspired dance class guaranteed to make you smile, laugh and burn calories without even noticing. It is about the most fun you can possibly have. And guys, you can join the party. I have spotted one Zumba dude among the 50-plus women. Not bad odds if you are single.

■ YouTube. There is no shortage of free entertainment on YouTube to give you a midday laugh break. Type "tooth extraction with a Nerf gun" in the search box. Maybe it's the recession, cabin fever or both that compel people to perform their own tooth extractions. YouTube also boasts the annoyingly funny, Annoying Orange series: "Hey, apple, hey, hey, hey, apple, wazzup." This series makes knock-knock jokes look sophisticated, but on a cold winter's day, sometimes a dose of third-grade humor is just what a shut-in needs.

■ Finally, get some pre-Valen­tine's Day snuggle time in with your sweet honey bunny. If you don't have one, check out a Zumba class.

Think spring!

Go back to article