Yesterday I had the opportunity to discuss the impact of our nasty winter on our psychological states. Due to time limitations, much of the information did not make it to air. With another storm on the way, I will fill in the gaps and include the link below. Firstly, Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs at a rate of about 2-6% of the Canadian population with another 15% experiencing a lesser “winter blues” . Winter can make people feel isolated. We don’t see friends as often, we don’t exercise as much, and we are lacking vitamin D. Secondly, most of us have been traveling on roads that have been treacherous for several months, with many of us probably having close calls with other drivers, snow banks, and even Timmy’s drive through windows (as I did the other day). These close calls cause people to have a physiological reaction – your heart rate increases, breathing rate increases, and adrenaline starts pumping to get you ready to fight, flight, or freeze. Add on other stresses including missing work, child care issues, flu and colds, and you have a mixture for highly combustible people. Thirdly, coping strategies – what can you do??? Breathe! As simple as it seems, people are not aware of their breathing or physiological state. It’s about mindfulness and taking the time to check with yourself and regulate your emotional, physiological, and cognitive states. Talk yourself down and break those negative thinking spirals. We can learn to clam and relax ourselves by keeping that triad in mind – THINKING-EMOTIONS-BODY.Other tips – get exercise; schedule in social activities or talk to friends and family; likewise, reduce toxic influences; take vitamin D supplements or get a UV lamp (yes, they can actually help!). If things seem really bad and you cannot control your emotions, speak to your family physician or contact a psychologist. It’s got to be almost over…right???!!