Tips to cure the winter blues - WNEM TV 5

Tips to cure the winter blues

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GRAND BLANC, MI (WNEM) -

Winter only lasts from late December to late March, but sometimes it can feel much longer.

The constant cold and lack of sunshine leaves people feeling fatigued, depressed and downright melancholy. The winter blues are a real medical condition with real causes and complications.

"It's a bit of a let down. I want more sun in the winter," said David Long, Mid-Michigan resident.

Long said he has a case of the winter blues. He said consecutive sunless days on top of cold conditions can really cramp his style.

"It'd be nice to see the sun. It makes everything just a little brighter," Long said.

Long is not the only person feeling that way. Psychotherapist James Dearlove said many people this time of year suffer from an actual condition called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. He said it is a serious depressive condition that sometimes requires intervention.

"It's a mood disorder that can affect people when you have less sunlight. A lot of people don't know it, but southeastern Michigan has the second least amount of direct sunlight in the continental United States," Dearlove said.

Weather reports said the Flint area has only seen sunshine for three days in the past month. Saginaw saw the sun four days.

Dearlove said symptoms of SAD include loss of energy, social withdrawal, over sleeping and loss of interest in activities that have been important to you.

He said the body's level of serotonin and dopamine tend to decrease in the winter and can affect your mood. Luckily, there are things you can do.

"You have to usually have something planned ahead of time, a responsibility or a commitment you've made like a club or sport or something like that. And having a buddy system can be helpful. So you don't get home and "Oh gee, I don't feel like going out,'" Dearlove said.

Dearlove said to combat the disorder you should be prepared for it. Stay active in the winter months. He said a little vitamin D can go a long way as well.

Long said just getting out a little bit helped to cure some of his cabin fever.

"Makes you want to stay in and not do much. So I'm ready for the summer and the sun," Long said.

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