Mood changes around the holidays more common than you may think - WSMV News 4

Mood changes around the holidays more common than you may think

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Many people start dealing with the winter blues around the holidays, and doctors say it's more common than you might think.

Every December, doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center start to hear from folks who are feeling sad, tired or struggling to keep their productivity up at work.

It's a condition called seasonal affective disorder, and the feelings often start when the leaves begin to change, the temperatures cool and there's less sunlight each day.

In some extreme cases, people may start to feel depressed, gain weight or experience anxiety.

Doctors say their first, and sometimes most important, piece of advice during these months is to stay active.

"Even if you can walk inside the building, not just sit at your desk. Move around, get on a treadmill, go to the gym. I encourage people to bundle up and get outside to get light exposure," said Vanderbilt psychiatrist Dr. Judith Akin.

Light exposure is key. Some doctors will use light therapy to treat seasonal affective disorder.

A specialized light box can be used at your desk or in your home, and gives you light exposure similar to what you'd feel outside.

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