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The “winter blues” is a real condition that can affect your health when the weather becomes colder and gloomier during this time of year.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons.  SAD begins and ends around the same times every year.  If you are like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”  It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of Americans experience this every year and that women make up the majority of those affected (around 75 percent!).  SAD can wreak major havoc on your health and your diet plan, as people tend to overeat and report lethargy.  Here are some simple ways for you to prevent SAD:

Sunshine, Sunshine, Sunshine: In gray weather, our bodies are missing a good dose of Mother Nature’s vitamin D.  If you see an opportunity to get outside when it is sunny, by all means, take advantage of the weather and give yourself a natural boost!

Brighten Up Your Environment: Making your everyday environment bright and cheerful will go a long way to fend off SAD.  Depending on what your needs are, that may mean painting your bedroom walls a lighter color or buying a light box.  You might want to consider ditching those light blocking window coverings for the winter or at least open your blinds every day.  If possible, get as much quality light in the morning, so you do not interfere with your sleep cycle.  Remember, every little bit helps.  Do not forget about your work space either.  Whether that means adding more light (decorative lamps, sitting closer to a window), a computer screensaver with a sunny background, or brightly colored accessories (picture frames, staplers, folders, etc.), do what you can to make your work time a gloom-free zone.

Winter Hibernation is for Bears: Do not use the cold and gloomy weather as an excuse to stay inside until spring.  Exercise is great not only as an addition to your diet plan, but it will keep your mind lean and mean, too.  Stay active and do not allow yourself to slack off just because it is winter.  Do not give in to a winter full of binge watching and living like a hibernating bear.

Stay tuned for our next segment for more helpful tips to prevent the winter blues!

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