Battling the winter blues - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Battling the winter blues

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

The brutal temperatures, biting wind, and mounds of snow are enough to make many of us want to stay indoors. But, doctors say that can come with some serious side effects.

It seems like the winter that just won't end.

"No one is happy to go outside, no one really wants to do anything," said Miranda Freeman.

But doctors say it's that kind of attitude that can cause some serious health concerns.

"The shortened days and less sunlight definitely has an affect on the part of the brain that helps regulate our mood," said Dr. Cristin Newkirk-Thompson of the Marshfield Clinic.

It's called seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year. Doctors say it's most common during the winter months because of the lack of sunlight.

"Just an overall kind of sadness and being down. There's less energy, more fatigue," explained Dr. Newkirk-Thompson.

According to the health department, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD as its known, effects two out five Americans every year. So what can be done to battle the blues?

"Having a good exercise program can be really helpful," said Dr. Newkirk-Thompson.

"When you release those endorphins in your body as your exercising, you get that natural feeling of just feeling good," said Shannon Wagman, health and wellness director at the Aspirus YMCA.

Another way to feel good? A new do.

"Everyone has been coming in to feel a little refreshed. They want to get that nice color, get that nice cut," said Miranda Freeman, Blonde and Beyond stylist.

Doctors say sometimes that's all it takes.

"Just recognize it's okay that you're feeling that way and it's very common," said Dr, Newkirk-Thompson.

So whether it's changing things up, or hitting the gym, just remember, Spring is right around the corner.

Doctors say Daylight Saving Time is a turning point as the extended periods of sunshine seem to help. We turn back those clocks this Sunday.

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