Beat the fatigue: Tips for Chicago residents sick of winter

Beat the fatigue: Tips for Chicago residents sick of winter

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Are you sick of winter? You are not alone. It seems like we've been dealing with large amounts of snow or frigid conditions ever since winter started.

Two rounds of that now-hated polar vortex subzero weather and inches upon inches of snow have ground down on Chicago area residents and drivers. We're only about halfway through winter, and the fatigue has already set in.

But what to do about it? Experts say the best way to beat the winter blues is to get outside! It sounds counter-intuitive, but a little sun will help boost your melatonin levels, make you feel good and help you bet better sleep at night. But make sure to bundle up first.

Another thing to remember is to avoid too much sugar and starch. The sugar high will feel good when you're eating, but the crash afterward can leave some people feeling depressed.

A real visit with a friend is also a great way to improve your mood if you're suffering from seasonal affective disorder. A phone call or cup of coffee with a friend is a sure way to lift your spirits.

There's always the option to fly away somewhere warm, when flights aren't canceled, roads are passable and you have the money and time to travel. Where would one Gold Coast resident escape to if she could? Mexico.

ADVICE FROM DR. MONA KHANNA:

Feeling blue and tired can be a byproduct of winter and its short, cold, dark days, especially if you have a history of seasonal affective disorder. But prolonged fatigue and exhaustion could be a red flag that there may be something else going on with your health.

Some medical conditions that count fatigue as part of their constellation of symptoms include obstructive sleep apnea, walking pneumonia, anemia, winter allergies, premenstrual syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, grief reaction, rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism.

You may want to pay a visit to your doctor if you are down for more than two weeks to see if there's something going on beyond the winter doldrums!

Activities that really make a difference in helping elevate your mood include daily exercise (you don't have to train for a marathon, but daily stretches, jumping jacks, working with 3-pound dumbbells or a medicine ball can really make a difference) and catching up on some long, well-deserved sleep (works better if you can cuddle next to someone).

Invest in happy light therapy to fight the blues. And in our high-tech world, why not take advantage of staying indoors to cultivate a little goodwill with a little high-touch?

Spend time reconnecting and communicating with family and friends who are usually busy outdoors in more agreeable weather. These things can increase your levels of endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin -- those are internal substances that help raise your mood.

Last, check off your to-do list. Get your teeth cleaned and your mammogram taken. Go see your doctor for an annual visit and your blood draw now. By getting indoor tasks done in inclement weather, you can spend more time outside when the weather turns pleasant.

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