SEE THE LIGHT
If you have the winter blues, you're not alone. Seasonal depression affects about 5 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The lack of light in northern latitudes during the winter months is thought to disturb the neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, mood, and appetite, which can result in carbohydrate cravings, exhaustion, trouble concentrating, weight gain, irritability, and depression. For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a doctor may prescribe 30 minutes of daily light therapy, which can be achieved at home with a light box. Although there are some affordable models, many are costly and the expense is rarely covered by insurance. To relieve less severe symptoms, try these easy, inexpensive steps to help lift the fog. Going where the sun is might not be a bad idea, either.