Even if you don't suffer from seasonal affective disorder, winter can still take a toll on your health. In this edition of Healthy Living, Katie Gibas tells us how you can prevent it.
Janet Mattox is tired of winter.
"Oh my goodness, I hate wearing my boots and getting all dressed and having to put on a huge hat to go out all the time. It's just a huge pain to go out," she said.
Tracey Smith, also tired of winter, added, "You're kind of homebound when you're not working or whatever you're doing. It's hard to do activities out when it's this cold."
"I do see more patients affected by that weather in terms of depression and anxiety. The type of patients I see were often very isolated already, and now in this cold, they're isolated even more," said Dr. Miron Iosilevich, a psychiatrist at St. Joseph's.
Health experts say there are several things that can add to winter exhaustion, including lack of sleep, exercise, and light.
"Adult body consists of about 50 percent to 60 percent of water. Children's bodies are up to 80 percent of water. What happens to water when it gets cold? It gets frozen. It contracts. People become stagnant in their body, mind and their spirit," said Dr. Iosilevich. "It takes a lot of energy to maintain our homeostasis to be relatively warm. That's where the drainage happens. We spend more energy to keep up the functioning."
Even if you feel like you might not make it through the rest of the winter, there are a few things you can do to make it more bearable.
"What happens is the cold weather stops us from doing what we typically have fun doing. So, the thing to do is to figure out what exactly it is about the cold weather that stops us and see if we can change that," said Dr. Rich O'Neill, a psychologist at Upstate University Hospital. "It's important to get exercise. It's important to stay in touch with your friends and family. So even if you can't get outside because you're afraid of falling or the snow is too deep or whatever, connect with them by phone or over the Internet."
You should also eat a healthy diet with warmer foods, and be sure to wear enough layers so your body doesn't have to work as hard to stay warm.