Feeling the winter blues right now? You’re not alone.

Depression grips everyone differently. To Trista Kempa, it means lying in bed and wishing she never woke up.

“It’s not that I wish I was dead, ” the 30 -year-old New Yorker clarifies. “I just feel like I’m missing any feeling at all.”

When Kempa was a college student living in Michigan, a doctor told her she she may have seasonal affective disorder — a form of depression, fittingly dubbed “SAD, ” that typically strikes when the working day grow shorter in fall and winter. For patients, a persistent decrease in sunlight exposure may cause mood swingings, energy loss, increased anxiety, and more.

It’s the winter blues on steroids.

To this day, however, Kempa’s not even wholly sure she has SAD — or ever legitimately had it. And she’s not alone. For many patients, and even for the doctors treating them, it’s no easy task to identifies seasonal depression with complete certainty. SAD, like most mental illnesses, can be a labyrinth to navigate — but you and your mental health are worth it.

Here are three things you should keep in intellect when it comes to staying on top of your mental health during winter :

1. Many of us haven’t warmed up to the idea that less sunlight can mess with our mental health. But we should.

Research has procured seasonal depression is surely real for millions of people, according to Norman Rosenthal, who first described SAD in a 1984 medical periodical. Yet, “get some sunlight” fails to make it on most of our to-do lists.

“The mind naturally gravitates to psychological explanations for why one is feeling bad, ” he explains. It’s not intuitive to link a lack of sun exposure to our degenerating mood. So we don’t.

We tend to exclusively blame outside stressors — like breakups or career changes — and not even consider that short, dark days could be doing us harm too. Compounded with members of the general stigma that often accompanies any mental illness, many people are hesitant to acknowledge SAD’s legitimacy.

“I was afraid of being weird, of find a therapist, of having an issue, ” Kempa says after having been told she may have SAD. “The stigma was very real for me.”

2. Sorting out your own winter blues may not be so black and white. And that’s OK.

Say it’s mid-January. You’ve been feeling lethargic for weeks on end. You’re craving sweets and starches, and your sleep habits are out of whack. You undoubtedly have SAD, and you’re stuck with it for life. Right?

“Oftentimes, it’s not that simple, ” says Rosenthal.

A spectrum exists when it comes to extreme SAD and mild wintertime depression, and patients may find themselves at various points on that scale depending on the year. While the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates about 4-6% of the population has SAD and another 10 -2 0% has more subtle symptoms associated with the winter blues, Rosenthal says external stress and geography( distance from the equator affects the length of daylight) play roles in if and how severe you experience SAD.

One winter, for example, someone may be living in sunny San Diego and have low stress in their private and professional lives. The next wintertime, they could be living in upstate New York, overwhelmed by run deadlines and personal adversities. The change may well manifest in a person’s mental health, says Rosenthal: “You can have the winter blues one year and then full blown SAD the next.”

What’s more, if a person lives with other mental health impediments that aren’t inevitably tied to the seasons, it can be even more difficult to sort through how they’re feeling and why. Physicians may also find it difficult to confidently diagnose a person with SAD, seeing as many of the symptoms are similar to those links with other forms of mental illness, in agreement with the Mayo Clinic.

“I still don’t genuinely know[ if] I ever had[ SAD ], ” Kempa says. “When you’re diagnosed with depression, or nervousnes, or SAD, or anything that is trying to pinpoint what’s going on with your brain, it’s just complicated. It’s hard to know exactly what it is.”

It’s important to be aware of all the factors that could be contributing to your winter woes — including the amount of sunlight you’re getting.

3. The good news is, there are many things you can do to curb the worst effects of Old Man Winter.

“Whatever your degree to which you are affected, there are lots of things you can do about it, ” Rosenthal says. “You don’t “re going to have to” suffer.”

Let start with the most obvious: Get outside during the day, if and when you can ! When winter daylight is short, many leave for the office in darkness and commute home after the sun situateds. The struggle is definitely real. But even a short, brisk walk outside on a lunch infringe can make a difference.

You has the potential to create a “light room.” Clean the window panes, open the blinds, trim the outside shrubbery, and make sure you have( at the least) one space in your home that get maximum sunlight. Shift as many daily activities — like reading, Netflix-ing, or hosting friends — to that room as you can, so you can take full advantage of the rays.

And if the real sun’s just not cutting it at home, hold buying a sunlight lamp . According to the Cleveland Clinic, they’re a safe style to help your body regulate melatonin and serotonin — hormones that aid in sleeping and stabilizing mood.

It never hurts to be mindful of diet and exercising . Staying active and eating proteins and vegetables — and( sadly) avoiding sweets and carbs — can give you more energy throughout the day.

Of course, reaching out for help is always a great option too.

“Understanding mental health is really complicated, ” Kempa says , noting that because of supportive family and friends — and being more cognizant of what she’s feeling — she’s been in a great place for some time. “It’s not diabetes. It’s not a broken bone. You can’t simply fix it. There’s no one-size-fits all medication or route to healing and wellness. I “think thats what” stimulates it all so daunting. And when you’re in it, it’s hard to put in the effort.”

Sometimes we can’t — or don’t want to — do it all alone. And that’s perfectly OK.

If you need assistance now, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800 -2 73 -8 255. Read more about seasonal affective disorder at the Mayo Clinic.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

A body temperature expert explains why some people are always freezing.

You wear extra chunky sweaters. You’ve never met a mitten you didn’t like. You may even keep a lap blanket at work.

You’re one of those people who is always cold. And you are not alone.

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Inside or outside, you just can’t appears to get warm. This characteristic of yours manifests itself in extra blankets, wild heating bills, and enough objections that you start running hoarse.

But surely there’s a scientific reason as to why some people are always cold, right?

It can’t simply be random opportunity that has doomed you to a life of perpetual shivers. I reached out to an expert to learn more.

Dr. Christopher Minson is a prof in the department of human physiology at the University of Oregon. One of his primary research interests is thermoregulation, that’s how the brain and body interact and adapt as we heat and cool. Plainly set, he is the perfect guy to answer a few questions from #TeamCold.

( This interview has been condensed and edited in the interests of clarity .)

Upworthy( UP ): So what is actually happening in the body when a person get chilly ?

Dr. Chris Minson( CM ): In the simplest of words, feeling either cold or warm means that the temperature “set point” of the body is being challenged by thermal inputs throughout the body, including in the brain, the blood, the spinal cord, our organs, our muscles, and our skin. Part of our brain collects all of those thermal inputs and essentially compares them to what body temperature it wants to hold. So if your skin temperature is lowered, even though the rest of your body is still at a comfortable set-point, you are able to feel cold — in some cases, cold enough to attain behavioral changes like putting on a sweater.

UP: Is there a reason this seems to largely impact females?

CM : The people who feel “always cold” will typically have lower muscle mass relative to body surface area( typically, women and older people ). Their actual body core temperature may not really be below normal, but they feel cold because their body is telling them to conserve heat.

There have also been limited reports that females have a higher density of blood vessels at the scalp surface, which would attain them more sensitive to cold. However, there hasn’t been enough good data collected on this theory to corroborate or refute it.

This also explains a frequent annoyances about women and men in relationships …

CM : A common objection by women and men in relationships is that women’s feet are often very cold, particularly in bed. That runs along with the lower body mass to surface area relationship in females. As their body works to conserve heat, it vasoconstricts blood vessels in the extremities( hands and feet) to keep the core warm. This reduced blood flow results in cold hands and feet in females more than men.

So if you are a lap-blanket wearing member of #TeamCold, don’t fret.

You are strong. You are capable. And unless you have pain or some of the symptoms Minson mentioned, there is likely nothing wrong with you. Our bodies only involve different things of us, and yours requires that you have to deal with an overly-air conditioned-society. My sincerest apologies. On behalf of #TeamHot, your next chocolate is on me.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

Breakthrough study offers ray of hope to those suffering from anxiety.

Neuroscientists just pinpointed the physical source of anxiety in our brains — and it could lead to a breakthrough treatment.

Using mouse. And light rays .

Experiments have situated so-called “anxiety cells” located in the hippocampus of mice brains. Employing a ray of light, researchers determined they could literally turn away the level of nervousnes in these cells.

“This is exciting because it represents a direct, rapid pathway in the brain that lets animals respond to anxiety-provoking places without needing to go through higher-order brain regions, ” said Mazen Kheirbek, deputy professor of psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco, and a lead investigator on the joint examine be carried out in UCSF and Columbia University.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans has experienced an anxiety disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 31% of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety ailment in at some phase in their lives.

And celebrities are not immune either. Public figures like Kristen Bell, Lady Gaga, and journalist Dan Harris have shared their own difficulties in navigating a mental illness that can seem invisible to everyone else.

The most common therapies typically involve a combination of therapy and medications. Antidepressents, or SSRI narcotics, have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, with critics arguing they are often over-prescribed and in less severe cases may even mask symptoms that could be otherwise treated through different approaches.

A ray of hope. Seriously.

Image via Lab of Rene Hen, Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

That’s what builds this new analyse so compelling. If there’s an alternative approach to treating nervousnes that is both more precise and less invasive, it could be a legitimate breakthrough approach to treating anxiety disorders.

Using lights of sunlight, the researchers were able to track the brain activity in freely moving mice, getting real-time feedback about whether the “anxiety neurons” in their brains were activated during stressful situations 😛 TAGEND

“They found that squelching the nervousnes neuron pathway made animals more comfortable spending time in environments that usually frighten them, while stimulating the same neural connects made mice behave with nervousnes even in safely enclosed spaces.”

“Now that we’ve determined these cells in the hippocampus, it opens up new regions for exploring treatment ideas that we didn’t know existed before, ” said Jessica Jimenez, lead author of the joint study.

There’s still a lot more work to be done.

Even though the study offers a ton of potential, experiments on mice don’t always perfectly translate to trials on humans.

Even though he calls the initial results “tremendous progress, ” NIMH director Joshua Gordon said we’re still far from a solution. “You can think of this paper as one brick in a big wall, ” he told NPR.

Still, there’s no denying the promise and potential for the millions of people living with nervousnes disorders and the countless others affected by such challenges.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

A fiery rant about workplace etiquette during flu season is going … viral.

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett has a problem with how we are dealing with flu season in the U.S.

During a recent taping of his podcast, “Lovett or Leave It, ” Lovett touched on a topic we’re not actually hearing a whole lot about: the current flu epidemic. The flu — which experts say is the worst in almost a decade and has already racked up a modest body count — is an issue that’s not getting much attention.

Enter Crooked Media co-founder Lovett. He’s fired up about this year’s flu, and we should all should hear him out.( Simply a warn: some NSFW speech .)

If you are sick, do not go to work. This is how you spread germs.

“You show up at work and you’re sick — fuck you, ok? ” he says, bluntly. “If you have a undertaking with paid sick leave and you can work at home, you work at home. If you wake up achy and with a fever, don’t go to the office and see how it goes. You’re going to give people the fucking flu.”

He’s totally right. Staying home from run( or from school) when you’re sick is actually the first thing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates. In fact, they take it a step further, indicating you stay home even if you’re not yet sick, but someone else in your household is.

Other important reminders include covering coughings and sneezings, washing your hands, and wearing a mask if you’re out in public.( Yes, I know it can appear goofy as hell, but it’s for the greater good, people .)

Americans are weird when it comes to work. We’ve been taught to tough it out and that depicting up when we’re sick is an example of being a team player.

It needs to change, and we can start with how we praise children for perfect attendance at school. Going to school or run when you’re sick is actually a profoundly selfish thing to do. Unless you’re Michael Jordan hopping in a period machine to drop 38 points on the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, you need to stay in bed. As only he can, Lovett explains 😛 TAGEND

“You going is about proving you’re the various kinds of person who powers through. It’s not about being a team player, it’s about you, and it’s a weird performance, and people shouldn’t go to work sick. It’s bullshit. It’s treated like, ‘Oh yeah, what a tough person.’ Fuck you. Run home. You are a contagious thing. Your mucous membranes don’t know how much you care about your work. They don’t give a shit.”

It’s time we got with the rest of the world and implemented mandatory paid sick leave.

Many people living paycheck-to-paycheck or running an hourly, low-wage task often don’t have the ability to call in sick. Many countries — the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, and many, many more — mandate that employers offer their workers paid time off for sickness, but not here in the U.S .

The CDC( funded by the federal government) recommends that individuals do something that the federal government won’t act on. If the government find public health issues as a true priority, they’d enact policies that would allow people — especially hourly employees, some of whom might be handling your food — to take time off when they need it. A few nations have taken it upon themselves to necessitate companies to offer paid time off, and several companies have decided it’s a benefit worth offering all employees, but Congress should pass a bill making it a requirement nationwide.

“We never cover cause and consequence, ” Lovett says, referring to why a wealthy country like the U.S. get hammered by illness year after year. “We never talk about the system.”

Watch Lovett’s inspired, fiery ranting below.

For more information on what you can do to help prevent the spread of the influenza, visit the CDC’s website( and, seriously, get a flu shoot ).