Doctor: The winter blues are real

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you’ve been complaining about the cold, snowy winter, don’t worry – you’re not alone.  Most Hoosiers are tired of it, and doctors say there is a medical reason for the winter blues.

Because our days are shorter and we’re seeing less sunlight, the body’s melatonin levels are affected.

That means when there’s a string of gray or dark days, the body doesn’t really know when to sleep or when to get up, so you may feel more tired.

Also, because you have to bundle up every time you go out, you tend to stay inside more and exercise less. You also probably eat more comfort foods and may have gained a little weight.

Doctors like IU Health’s Lena Franklin say they are seeing lots of patients with similar stories about the blues – which in some cases can be diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“Every time we think maybe we’ll get a break, it’s over, we get hit with another snowstorm,” said Franklin. “And I’m seeing a lot of complaints from my patients just saying I’m done, I can’t take it anymore, and a lot more anxiety and depression -maybe even more than previous years because of that.”

Doctor Franklin says you should see your doctor if your symptoms are extreme, because there could be another issue.  But, once you rule out something more serious, you can fight the winter blues. She says you should try to get up early and see the sunlight and try to get in some exercise, even if it’s just walking stairs or a hallway. Doctor Franklin also recommends to try eating lighter summer foods instead of winter comfort foods.

And finally, hang in there, spring will be here soon!

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