Are you SAD? Tips for handling Seasonal Affect Disorder

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(STLMoms) - Do you have cabin fever? Is the cold outside affecting your mood? Psychotherapist Dr. Russell Hyken talks about how winter can get even the best of us a little down.

The brain chemistry is altered by cold weather and those shorter days.  Melatonin and serotonin are hormones that play a part in controlling moods, energy levels, and sleep.

But when the seasons change, some people experience SAD or Seasonal Affect Disorder

Snow days can actually cause `more` stress and worry to somebody who`s experiencing a low mood.

And to further complicate this time of year, some have some post holiday blues.

This is not as depressing as this sounds, there`s a lot you can do to both prevent the blues from coming on and get yourself back to feeling normal.

1.     Exercise and Eating
As if we needed another reason to stay healthy.  Exercise is great for relieving the stresses of life. Plus, the effects of a good workout can last for several hours after you hit the showers. And what you eat has a great affect on your mood. Foods that are devoid of nutrients (refined sugars) zap your energy levels and can make you depressed

2.     Act on or make some Resolutions
This is a great time of year to set some new healthy goals and the cold weather and snow adds a sense of urgency. There is strong link between healthy behaviors and elevated moods. Those who continually engaged in healthy behaviors (like exercising, not smoking, etc.) are less sad and depressed than those whose behaviors are less than healthy.

3.     Get Social Support
Don`t underestimate the power of friends, family, mentors, co-workers, and neighbors. Who can you turn to when you`re down and need a pick-me-up? Keep a mental list of these special people and don`t be afraid to ask for help. Something as simple as a phone call, a chat over coffee, or a nice email can brighten your mood.

4.     Get Some Sun
Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, which improves your mood. Try to spend some time outdoors keep your shades up during the day, and sit next to widows
Even if you don`t typical have mood concerns.  January weather often brings on some mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy. It is cold, snowy and the holidays are over. Don`t despair; rather recognize your emotions and do something about it.