Entries in Seasonal (2)


Life Is SAD This Time of Year

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Feeling a little let down after Election Day?

It might not have anything to do with the outcome of the election or Hurricane Sandy.  You might simply be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise appropriately known as SAD.

Dr. Mike McKee of the Cleveland Clinic says SAD is a real condition brought on this time of year by less sunlight and more dark.

That tends to make some people more depressed, but McKee has ways of lessening the blues.  It includes getting up and about, going outside and doing things in spite of how lousy you might feel.

One other important tip: keep off the booze.  That temporary respite you get from alcohol will just make things worse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holiday Stress: Bad for Holidays and Health

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The winter holidays are full of festive decorations, gatherings with loved ones and plenty of home-cooked food and drinks.

They are also filled with stress, and experts say that stress can be counterproductive and harmful to one's health, even if it is just for a few weeks.

"When we're stressed, our adrenal glands release hormones, especially adrenaline and cortisol,as part of the normal 'fight-or-flight' response," said Dr. Philip Ragno, president of Island Cardiac Specialists in Garden City, N.Y. and director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "With an increase in adrenaline, our heart rate and blood pressure go up in order to deliver more blood to our muscles and the release of cortisol heightens our immune system and increases our blood glucose levels."

These are all a healthy part of the body's response to stress, but over time, chronic stress can really take a toll on the heart.

"Constant stress can cause cortisol to become chronically elevated, with levels up to 10 times higher than our normal baseline. Persistent elevation of cortisol levels can lead to increased levels of bad cholesterol, decreased levels of good cholestero, and elevated blood sugar levels. These changes result in the development of excess abdominal fat and diabetes, as well as reducing our immune response," said Ragno.

The triggers are the same every year: too much shopping and preparation to do, end-of-year job responsibilties, crowds, and family gatherings are among them.

In order to ease their holiday stress, experts advise people to really make time to relax, take a few deep breaths, and put things into perspective.

"Just stopping and reflecting for a few minutes will help to lower adrenaline and cortisol levels," said Ragno.

"Take a few minutes when you can to relax and appreciate what the holidays are about," said Rego. "Watch the joy in children's faces, watch an old movie or listen to a holiday song."

"The world's not going to end if something doesn't get done," said Williams.

People should also eat well and make time to exercise, since overindulging and putting off workouts until it's time for New Year's resolutions are common.

To prevent an unwanted meltdown, experts say there are some signs to watch out for that you may be about to have one.

"If you're not able to sleep, if you find yourself waking up at 4 a.m. because you can't sleep, if you find yourself drinking too much and behaving in ways that really aren't like you, you should really take a step back and say that things are getting out of hand," said Williams.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio