By Scot Mills

Travel can lift your spirits– and it might just be essential for good mental health. If the winter blues get in the way of living your best life, you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. And a little travel might just be what the doctor ordered.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder effecting more than 6% of the population. It often appears as the seasons shift from summer to fall, and it can last throughout the winter if left unchecked.

Seasonal Affective Disorder can feel like being stuck in a rut. Get yourself to a doctor for an official diagnosis, especially if you’re suffering from excess sleepiness or insomnia, anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, sadness or depression.

If you’re prone to SAD there is good news. There are many sunny, affordable places you can visit during the winter to ease symptoms and get back in the swing of things.

Traveling Away Seasonal Affective Disorder

The further north you live, the more likely you are to experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The disorder occurs around 7-times more often in Washington state than in Florida.

This is because sunshine has wonderful, soothing properties that can lift you out of your seasonal funk.

And, since there are many cost-effective, warm and easily accessible places to go during the worst winter months, there is no reason to stick around and risk the danger of a “seasonal funk” going off the rails.

Southern Arizona

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Ready for average January days in the low 70’s, stunning sunsets and the kind of beautiful desert terrain you see in postcards? Southern Arizona, including the Yuma, Phoenix and Tucson regions will keep your spirits high this winter. Visit historic Tombstone for some old west fun-in-the-sun, or you can enjoy any of the museums, caves, state parks and trails in and around the Phoenix and Tucson areas for enough culture and adventure to keep you smiling all winter long.

Southern California

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With so many of its southern destinations an inexpensive flight away, there’s no reason to be miserable and snowbound this winter. Whether you want the fun and excitement of LA, the laid-back attitude of San Diego or the away-from-it-all vibe of the Palm Desert, Southern California has it all.

Mexico

When you visit our south-of-the-border neighbors, you will not only enjoy beautiful beaches, local cuisines, ancient cultures and warm hospitality, you will do it for a fraction of the stateside cost. Plus, with the border so close to San Diego, why not enjoy time in both regions for all the multi-cultural sunshine therapy you need to get you through winter’s peak months?

Texas

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The Lone Star State is known for big steaks, big trucks, and big, sunny, wintertime skies. With its mild climate and multitudes of urban regions, state parks and beaches, Texas is more than just cattle country and fiery chili. Enjoy the music scene of Austin, the boardwalk of San Antonio, the artsy quirk of Marfa or the pictograph caves of Seminole Canyon State Park–when it comes to beating the wintertime blues, Texas has it all!

Florida

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To be sure, both Florida and Southern California have all the warm weather, urban attractions, sandy beaches, parks and scenery to get you through the worst of winters. However, Florida expands on things with its tropical breezes, white sandy beaches and the excitement of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Miami’s vibrant culture and nightlife–something for everyone, and more!

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