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It’s not just a case of cabin fever or the “winter blues.” Seasonal affective depression (SAD) is a type of depression that can seriously impair daily life. More common in women than men (and uncommon in people under the age of 20). SAD can cause loss of energy, social withdrawal, appetite changes, and feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. In fact, seasonal affective disorder doesn’t just happen in winter: some people get summer depression.

If you feel seasonal depression coming on this winter, there are a few things you can do to fight it:

--Let there be light. Make your home and office sunnier and brighter by opening blinds, adding skylights, or trimming tree branches that block sunlight.

--Get out. Take a walk or eat lunch in the park on sunny days.

--Socialize. Stay connected with people with whom you can laugh and cry.

--Take a trip. If possible, take a winter vacation to a sunny, warm location.

--Ask for help. For more serious cases, talk to a professional about treatment options such as light therapy.

Mayo Clinic

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, November/December 2009. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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