August 21 2014

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Turning S.A.D. Into Happy


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail

I get seasonal affective disorder in the winter, and since a sun-drenched island vacation is not in my future, I’m at a loss as to what to do. I’m considering one of those mood-enhancing green lights, but I’m skeptical. Do they work? Would you recommend a different method to thwart my depression?

As we move into winter, there are several adaptations we can make to our routines that can combat depressive forces and actually bring a revitalized spirit and sense of renewal to our lives. Some examples:

- Make the most of the daylight. Even though it may be colder and darker, try to get outside by either walking to or from work a few times a week, and make it a point to step outdoors for lunch or coffee breaks as much as possible.

- Change your workout routine. Instead of continuing your running program inside on a treadmill, opt for some hiking or cross-country skiing outdoors, or change your indoor routine altogether by finally taking that new spin class you’ve always wanted to try or swimming laps in the pool. Use the environmental changes as an impetus to take on a new adventure or physical challenge.

- Change your menu. Foods affect our moods and stress levels, so instead of opting for the cup of berries as you did over the summer months, try taking a walk through your local farmers’ market and consider a recipe using foods that are local and in season. Always choose foods in their whole, unprocessed state to get the maximum benefits.

By making it a point to jump into the change of seasons and embrace nature’s cycles, you may find yourself free of the symptoms of seasonal depression altogether.

Pooja Renee Mottl is a NSCA-CPT certified fitness professional, policy advocate, and preventative health activist. After starting her career on Wall Street, Mottl refocused her attention on wellness and this year launched Mindfully21, a Web site devoted to providing a unique, modern, and realistic approach to living a healthier, greener life.

Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The Doctor Is In