GRAND RAPIDS(WZZM) -- The bitter cold and miserable weather has folks across West Michigan battling the Winter Blues.
Cold, dark, wet and dreary about sums upwinter 2014. It is hard not to go somewhere andhear at least one persongrumbling about the snow, cold and lack of sunshine.
Because of it,the Winter Blues, andthe more serious depression,known as Seasonal Affective Disorder is causing many people to feel a little extra cranky.
Experts think between 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from the condition, including children. It's linked to decreased sunlight and chemical changes in the brain. Of course, having to constantly shovel snow,avoid accidents andbeing cooped-up in the housedoesn't help either.
Some of the main symptoms of seasonal depression include: sadness, low energy, oversleeping, social withdrawal and craving carbs. It is what some of us like to call comfort foods.
Medication and bright light therapy is known to relieve symptoms. But what many people want to do is escape to somewhere warm. If that's not possible, Melody VanderWeide, director of GRKids.com says there are some things you can do locally that may help.
"You can go to Meijer Gardens and get inside their tropical conservatory and see all the lush beautiful tropical plants and feel the warm heat. Or Goldfish Swim School, if you haven't been there they have a great warm pool. It is like a little oasis in the middle of winter. So, plan some of these little excursions to help you escape mentally at least," she said.
Experts say regular exercise - 30 minutes three times a week - helps. They also advise people tointeract with family and friends. They suggest going to the movies or have game night at home. If all else fails, get outside and build a snowman. While you embrace winter remember,spring is just 50 days away.