As the snow piles up, your mood can sink. Even the most positive real estate agent can get down when days of snow, cloudy skies and cold weather turn into weeks.

There are a number of tips that can help you beat the winter blues and be ready to gain a competitive edge in your market. These can include brightening your office, eating better, getting exercise, playing upbeat music, getting outside, volunteering or even planning a vacation.

Colder temperatures can cause some to develop the “winter blues,” but health experts say staying active and getting as much sunlight as possible is one way to fight back.

According to the website for Academy of American Family Physicians, approximately 4 to 6 percent of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. SAD is characterized by the onset of depression during winter months when there is a less natural sunlight. The reason? A lack of natural light affects the essential functions of our central nervous system, affecting our hormone and levels of Vitamin D, which can greatly impact how awesome we feel.

Light therapy is often used to alleviate symptons of seasonal affective disorder.

“Physiologically, we require sunlight to synthesize Vitamin D,” said Dr. Henry Gerson, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Cayuga Medical Center. “That takes place when it’s bright and sunny and our skin is exposed.  But Vitamin D is not active right away, and we can store it really well, so we are can maintain Vitamin D levels even during months of decreased sunlight.”

Jeffrey Janata with University Hospitals in Cleveland, told WKYC TV, light exposure affects people’s moods, some more than others. Overall, a significant number of people, 20 percent to 25 percent, are affected and they tend to crave carbohydrates.

“They tend to crave sleep,” he said. “They don’t feel rested after they’ve slept.”
Real estate professionals can follow the same tips given to the general public to stay ahead of the winter blues.

Shad Brophy, a physician assistant for CHI St. Alexius Health Clinic in Dickinson and Beach, told the Duluth News Tribune one of the ways to combat the “winter blues” is to stay active and get sunlight whenever possible.

“Take advantage of being outside, get the sunlight,” Brophy said. “Even if it’s cloudy you can still benefit from being outside.”

People who suffer from SAD can feel irritable, tired, hypersensitive to rejection and experience appetite changes and weight gain.

Working out relieves some stress and that just doing a workout and sweating can help people from feeling “so blah” during the winter months.

To beat the winter blues, Janata recommends finding ways to exposure yourself to light.

This can be achieved by sitting near a window or talking a walk outside.  If you cannot soak up the natural light, Janata says light bars can be used as an alternative.  He encourages exercise and avoiding excess carbohydrates. Being social is also important.

Upbeat music can be a mood lifter.

The best medicine for “winter blues”, Gerson said, is to keep pushing forward but, if the mood symptoms get to the point where they interfere with everyday life, the condition may be a bonafide depressive disorder and the sufferer should seek out a professional opinion.

Real estate professionals also can beat the blues by doing what comes natural in their profession – getting out and interacting with other people.