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Don't let winter fatigue take toll on you

Man shovels during heavy snowstorm
Posted at 3:27 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 19:39:59-05

If you're sick of the dreary weather, you're not alone. The cold and snow can equal up to a sour mood.

Dr. Himanshu Agrawal, a psychiatrist with the Medical College of Wisconsin, says your body produces less serotonin in the winter, and it could affect your mood. There are also indirect ways the winter can affect your mood. The cold makes us stay inside more. Also, there's fewer daylight hours to get things done.

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"There’s this inherent unconscious pressure to squeeze all the work in while it’s light out, and so that itself can reduce our efficiency and produce mental and physical burnout,” Agrawal said.

He offers these tips to make sure you don't burn yourself out:

  1. Open your curtains to get extra sunlight.
  2. Exercise. Agrawal said it doesn't have to be robust. You can take a brisk walk or opt to take the stairs.
  3. Keep a healthy diet.
  4. Get enough sleep but not too much.

“It’s even more important to eat your fruits and vegetables. They can directly affect your mood, and if you get too much sleep you can also feel sluggish as if you didn't get enough," Agrawal said.

Renee Wenzlaff agrees the winter weather can get you down. But she uses essential oils to keep her mood lifted and boost serotonin. She offers a do-it-yourself essential oil spray to lift your spirits.

"You can mix sweet orange oil, peppermint, eucalyptus with a carrier oil and put it on your skin. Those oils combined will help boost your mood," Wenzlaff said.

Before using essential oils, it’s important that you consult your doctor if you’re on prescriptions or under a doctor's care.