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How to cope with 'winter blues,' seasonal affective disorder

"You want to try to get out of the house, get out of town, go somewhere sunny if you need to go down south where the sun is. Those things are very important," said Dr. Andrew Mendonsa.

Thursday's sunshine brought a relief from the nonstop stormy weather Northern California has experienced during the last few weeks.

Experts say many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) when they don't see the sun.

"When the weather is bad, people tend to be different," said Dr. Andrew Mendonsa.

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Mendonsa explains the lack of sunlight during fall and winter can really wreak havoc on our serotonin and melatonin levels.

"Those are the chemicals that make us feel happy," said Mendonsa. "That’s why when we suddenly see that the sun comes out, or if the clouds are gone for a long time, all those chemicals replenish themselves in your body and your brain and you suddenly feel good again."

In order to combat SAD, Mendonsa recommends reconnecting with people that are important to you and going outside.

"You want to try to get out of the house, get out of town, go somewhere sunny if you need to go down south where the sun is. Those things are very important," he added.

Increased irritability, skipping the gym, and wanting to stay home and sleep, are all things many people experiencing SAD may go through, Mendonsa explained.

"There’s a lot of good supplements out there with the B vitamins, melatonin – those kind of things that can be that added oomph that you need to get through not so good weeks and bad weather," said Mendonsa. "We’re finding that supplements are really filling in that gap, so talking to your doctor about those kinds of options is a great idea."

Another way to treat SAD is light box therapy.

"It's basically a box that you can put on your desk, at work, or at home, and it's basically just a very bright box that kind of mimics the sunlight and sun rays, and you can actually absorb the light that way."

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WATCH MORE: Does the weather really affect your emotions? | RAW