LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The winter season is in full swing and the dreary weather may be making you feel a little down.
The change in seasons may come with a change in how you feel.
WXOW Daybreak Meteorologist Alex Kirchner says, "We've had a lot of cold weather lately, this is unseasonably cold, not record territory but the winter has started out on the harsh side."
4 to 6 percent of Americans may literally feel sad, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that happens when the cold weather hits.
10 to 20 percent of Americans experience mild symptoms of it.
It affects your mood, appetite, and sleeping patterns.
Kirchner says, "around this time of year we only average about 9 hours of daylight, that's 15 hours of darkness that probably would affect anybody's mood."
Gundersen Health System's Wellness Specialist Christie Harris says that the natural sunlight and the warmth helps us to feel better.
With the sun setting around 4:30 at night, many of us may leave work in the dark, and it doesn't help that Winter is the cloudiest season in the Midwest.
One way to treat seasonal affective disorder is with light therapy.
During light therapy, you sit near a device called a light therapy box. The light mimics natural outdoor light and boosts your mood.
Harris says sometimes you just have to "force yourselves to get outdoors, take a short walk, just by getting outside and getting that fresh air you can feel al little bit better about yourself."
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