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Beat the Winter Blues

Expert offers tips for staying upbeat during dreary months

FRIDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- If you get down when sunshine and warmth are in short supply this winter, you will not be alone.

Dawn LaFrance, assistant director of counseling and psychological services at Colgate University, offers these tips for beating the winter blues:

  • Take fun seriously. "Find a sport or outdoor activity that makes you look forward to cold, like hiking or cross-country skiing," she said in a university news release. "Getting your heart pumping can increase your endorphins and positively affect your mood."
  • See the light. Don't stay indoors when it's cold out -- bundle up and get some rays. "Natural sun can do wonders for depression, so get out of the office or the house as much as possible during the daylight hours," she said. "Even just meeting friends for lunch can help if you're feeling down."
  • Seek friendly help. Let others help you, LaFrance said. "When you're feeling sad, call up a loved one and schedule a time to get some coffee and talk," she said. "That's what they're there for, to lean on."
  • Talk to a pro. The winter blues can be a symptom of a bigger problem, such as depression. "Don't be afraid or embarrassed to make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist if you don't start to feel better," she said. "Sometimes regular counseling sessions or medication are the best options, and only a professional can help you make that call."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about seasonal affective disorder.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Colgate University, news release, Dec. 19, 2008

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