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Seasonal Affective Disorder — Or Just Sick Of Winter?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All that snow and ice has many of us feeling a little sick of winter, especially since it is supposed to be spring.

All these freezing temperatures lasting this far into April have most of us hoping for warmer temperatures soon.

It doesn’t take long to find someone in Minnesota to complain about the weather.

“We went away for the winter and we came back to the winter,” said Judy Peterson, of Eagan.

“That’s probably normal and healthy at this point. We’re ready to get outdoors,” said Dr. Alan Steed, a psychologist with Allina Medical Clinic who treats seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD), with things like a light box.

“[Seasonal affective disorder] affects people profoundly in terms of their mood, their energy level and their ability to sleep,” he said.

But for those who don’t have SAD, he can relate.

“At this point, it’s failed expectations. We’re thinking we should be outdoors at this point,” Steed said.

He recommends eating well, exercise to get the chemicals in the brain moving and heading outside if you can handle the cold.

Last year, Allina did a study and found 80 percent of us don’t get enough Vitamin D we need in the winter.

“If we can get out in the sun a little bit, it’s better than being indoors and doing nothing,” he said.

Or you can just take Judy Peterson’s advice.

“I like to go to Mystic Lake. That makes me forget everything and you don’t see out,” she said.

April 15 — besides Tax Day — it’s also the last day for the Cold Weather Rule, which protects Minnesotans from having their heat turned off in the winter.

By statute, this must end Monday, but I talked with the Public Utilities Commission and they’re recommendation is for people to contact their utility to set up a payment or apply for energy assistance. There’s still money leftover for this year.

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