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Mild weather can bring smiles to those with winter blues
Can blues skies actually chase your winter blues away? Our Elyse Mickalonis talked with one expert who says yes, and offered some advice on how to stay happy during the winter.
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UNITED STATES -- Do you get sad, gain weight and sleep a lot during the winter? You may have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It can be triggered by low light and body temperature during the winter. But experts say with the kind of weather we’ve been having this year, even those with SAD are feeling a little happier.
“Especially during a mild winter people are getting outside, so there’s less of a cooped up aspect of what’s assumed to be related to SAD,” said William H. Connor, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist. “Getting some sunlight and being warm enough to get into the sunshine is considered to be helpful.”
If you can’t get outside to enjoy blue skies this winter, therapists say don’t worry, because there are more options.
“We have a number of snowbirds here, up north, who go down to the southern climates for periods of time,” said Connor. “For people who can afford that, that’s a good break. Or simple getaways for a weekend can be a big help. It can give you something to look forward to.”
Aside from travel, experts say exercise can also help.
“Comparative research has shown that a good exercise routine is just as effective as antidepressants,” said Connor. “It’s important, especially during the wintertime to have some way in which they can be active and involved in physical pursuits. People who ski in a typical winter are much more likely to be in a good mood, other than people sitting around waiting for spring to come.”
Therapists say it’s important to ask for help if you need it.
“If they are concerned about sinking into a bad mood and letting the weather get to them,” said Connor. “It’d be a good idea to talk with a physician or religious leader and get involved in activities, but don’t let yourself go downhill, get some help if you need some help.”
Regardless of the weather, therapists said it’s important to do things that keep you happy, socially active and moving.