Your shopping list is growing ever-longer, it's getting dark earlier and earlier, a mountain of greeting cards awaits your attention and the family feuds just don't seem to stop. What's not to love about the holiday season?
Despite the supposed good cheer surrounding the holidays, the end of the year is actually a stressful time for many. Some studies say that as many as 1 in 10 people in the northern states suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter depression. "We certainly see dips in mood and energy levels in the winter months. There are a lot of demands on you during the holidays -– social obligations, shopping lists," says Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and author of "The Happiness Diet."
Dr. Norman Rosenthal, psychiatrist, Seasonal Affective Disorder specialist and author of the book "Winter Blues" agrees: "Many of us just can't achieve the expected level of happiness that commercials portray."
But the holidays don't need to be a season of sadness. All you need is a plan -- especially one that includes exercise, healthy eating and a host of mood-boosting activities. Check out our winter happiness plan below.