Asked & Answered: Lifting spirits in the dead of winter

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As the middle of winter slowly creeps up on us, so do feelings of sadness, loneliness and isolation. Shorter days with little or no sun can can bring on those winter blues and blahs.

So how do you raise your spirits and remember that your life and feelings are in your control? We asked some residents around town for their tips

on how to overcome the winter blues.

Tom Gangel, director of Steamboat Mental Health Center, said sunshine makes a big difference.

"Get out and get sunshine or sit under a sunshine light if you have to," he said.

There's actually a disorder caused by the shorter, colder days of winter. Sufferers of SAD (short for "seasonal affective disorder") struggle with low energy, a lack of motivation and sometimes even depression. The only known cure? Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.

Gangel said getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy and not over-drinking also are good ways to keep your energy and your spirits up.

"You might need to push yourself a little bit more," Gangel said. "This happens to a lot of us in the winter."

It sometimes happens to Jacqui Schreiner, a nurse at the Dermatology Center of Steamboat Springs. However, instead of loads of sunshine, Schreiner bakes something sweet anything sweet.

"Chocolate is a mood lifter," Schreiner said. "It's scientifically noted that chocolate makes you feel better."

Neighbors and co-workers love the days Schreiner has the winter blues because they reap the bounty of her home-cooked remedy.

Sandy Pugh, owner of Celebrations party store, said she beats the blues by what else? throwing a party.

"I like to have theme parties like a luau party, to try and think about the spring," Pugh said.

"And of course, I go skiing. That always puts a smile on your face."

Compiled by Kelly Silva

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