Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) from Essentia Health

Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

Seasona Affective Disorder

photo source


{info from Essentia Health press release}

If you start feeling blue when the lakes in the Brainerd Area become icy white, you are not alone. Those blues may likely be Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). S.A.D. is a psychological condition that results in depression. It is normally provoked by seasonal change with adults typically experiencing the condition in winter.


About 80 percent of S.A.D. sufferers are women, but this disorder affects men and children as well. Health experts have also found that, not only is age 23 the average age when patients begin to notice the symptoms of this disorder, but the farther away from the equator we get, the more likely we will be affected by this type of seasonal depression.


If you ever wondered where Brainerd was in comparison to the equator we are actually a little closer to the North Pole at 2,994 miles compared to 3,221 miles to the Equator. But don’t become dismayed that although the chance of having S.A.D. increases based on where we live compared to others it is still a minority of the population that suffers from this condition.


Some symptoms of wintertime S.A.D. to watch for include:


- daytime fatigue
- difficulty concentrating
- feelings of hopelessness
- increased irritability
- lack of interest in social activities
- lethargy
- reduced sexual interest
- unhappiness
- weight gain
- In severe instances, people with S.A.D. can experience suicidal thoughts.


“If you suspect that S.A.D. may be an issue in your life or that of a loved one, I encourage you to see your primary care team to rule out any possible underlying ailments like Vitamin D deficiency or thyroid disease”, says Theresa Steel, CNP with Lakeland Psychiatry Clinic at Essentia Health–St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

Theresa Steel, CNP with Lakeland Psychiatry Clinic


Another indicator of S.A.D., or as it was called in 1985 when first diagnosed – winter depression or winter blues, is that you have recurrent fall and winter depression with improvement in the spring for two or more years. This would be an indicator that it is likely you are experiencing S.A.D.

Effective forms of treatment include light therapy in the morning, healthy eating, socialization, medications, and physical activity.


Special lighting that mimics the rising sun has proven exceptionally helpful for S.A.D. sufferers and these lights can be found at local medical supply businesses or online. I advise my patients to look for the lights that mimic the sun. An example of this is Lightbox Therapy Lamps, specialty lighting that is around 10,000 lux, which can be set to come on gradually in the morning just like the rising sun. By using a therapy light at least three times a week in the morning, you are likely to impact the symptoms of S.A.D. you are experiencing.


Eating right, which includes avoiding processed foods and excessive sugar as much as possible, also can have a positive impact. As well as getting regular physical activity. We are fortunate in the Brainerd Lakes Area there are many groomed cross country ski and snowshoeing trails at the Northland Arboretum and the Paul Bunyan Trail, other activities may include: downhill skiing, indoor swimming, walking, curling, pickle ball, or indoor cycling.


“It is important to remember that S.A.D. is a form of depression and is treatable”, explains Steel. “Your care team or a specialist, such as myself, who specialize in care plans specific to an individual’s mental health needs may be a part of feeling healthy all year around.”


To schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) with Theresa Steele, RN, CNP, or another care team member at the Lakeland Psychiatry Clinic at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center please call 218-828-7394.




Sunday Spotlight: Tracy Watson from Nature’s Genesis

sunday spotlight

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be doing a Sunday Spotlight again! I love “shining the spotlight” on Lakes Area moms in business and it’s such an easy way for business to get a little free P.R! This Sunday I would like to introduce the Mom Squad readers to the lovely Tracy Watson of Nature’s Genesis. Tracy has a deep passion for life and also specializes and is certified and trained for Acne and Anti-Aging Treatments customized to produce visible results in every skin she treats. She also has a CTL Light that actually clears acne in 1⁄3 of the time of standard topical treatments. Welcome Tracy!

Narure's Genesis

1. Tell us about your business. When did you start and how long you’ve been in business too.

Nature’s Genesis started in 2009 as an online store.


2. Share what attracted you to this business, and what you like most about it.

I love beauty…both inside and out…I love meeting new people. I love the close bonds that have formed with some of my clients…tears and laughter are an integral part….


3. What has been your biggest business challenge with your business thus far?

Convincing & educating women of the importance of taking care of their skin both at home and with a Licensed Skin Care professional. We all live busy lives and need to take a little time for ourselves. I’ve told my family if I could go back and do some things over again, I would have taken more time for myself each week. I would have developed a hobby, taken lessons, went for a massage and a facial treatment. It is important for our children to see that Mom loves and values herself enough to take care of herself.


4. What business goals to do you have for 2015?

Growing my business and clientele, become known in the community for amazing customer service and working with moms on how enhancing the beauty they already possess.


5. Which one your products (or services) are you favorite and why?

Yikes that is a hard one…I won’t be caught without my ageless and vit c serums…these are an absolute must oh and the Cucumber Hydration Toner that is like a 8 oz glass of water for your skin:) I absolutely love the lines I carry…Our products are priced to be accessible and affordable to all women who desire beautiful, healthier younger looking skin. For services I love the enzyme peels they are gentle yet effective and are customized for each individual. The testimonies from the clients bring a smile to my face J


6. Tell us about your family.

I so love my family…I’ve been married for 29 years to a wonderful man; yes we’ve walked through some hard times and beautiful times together and both have produced such a love for each other. He is my best friend and soul mate. I have 3 grown sons, 2 “daughter­in­loves” and one beautiful grandbaby. My daughter­in­loves are very artsy and creative. One is a professional photographer in the area (you will see some of her photos on my website and blog) and the other one is super creative in every aspect of life. My boys have led worship and played in some of the area churches in our region…there is nothing like a mother’s love for her boys:)


7. What advice do you want to share for moms/women in business?

Keep pursuing what’s in your heart to do. Take chances…Dare to dream….you never know where it might take you


8. Name a personal quirk you wish you didn’t have (interrupting, eye rolling, etc.)

I blush…


9. What do you and your family do for fun and recreation?

In the summertime you will find us out on the boat…I love to go for walks…play miniature golf. Winter time; we are wanting to take up snowshoeing we will see if that happens this year…I hate being cold:)


11. Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Linked­In?

Readers can connect with me via the Nature’s Genesis website or on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


12. If you could do anything for a living, and money was no object, what would you do?

I would travel and speak to others on the topic of family.


13. If you could “bust out” and do ONE crazy thing in your lifetime (with no consequences)?

What would that be? It would to be totally free and confident to talk and be myself with everyone I meet!


14. If you had to choose one word to describe your focus for 2014, what would it be?




Tracy’s passion for making women feel Beautiful can truly be seen through her work.
She has an unique ability to enhance the beauty you already possess and to diminish
some of the less flattering features to ensure that you feel your absolute prettiest no
matter the occasion! You can connect with Tracy via the Nature’s Genesis website or on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Visit Tracy at J. Amelia’s Wellness Spa in Pequot Lakes as well!

Special Deal for Mom Squad Readers!

Sugar Plum Facial Treatment w/Holistic Microdermabrasion – $45 for the Mom Squad Followers. Be sure and mention this blog post and sale price to receive this special price:


Make your list and check it twice, our Sugar Plum Treatment is both delightful and nice!

Tis’ the season for soft, glowing skin!  This treatment features a sweet Holiday Berry Enzyme and a rich Vanilla Clove Hydrating Mask.  These fruit enzymes gently exfoliate while infusing the skin with antioxidants and the Vanilla Clove Hydrating Mask locks in moisture and intensely hydrates dry, winter weathered skin

Make your day Beautiful.


Is 2015 YOUR year? New Business Resources in the Brainerd Lakes Area

2015 is just around the corner and these preceding months are a great time to regroup, rethink and move forward in the next phase of your life. If you are one of the many who are toying with the idea of starting a new biz in 2015, let me assure you the Brainerd Lakes Area is filled with invaluable resources to help propel your business dreams to success. Here are a few New Business Resources in the Brainerd Lakes Area:


Small Business Development Center: The mission of the North Central Region Small Business Development Center is to improve economic growth in Minnesota by providing assistance to small businesses in order to increase the number of new business start-ups, expand existing small businesses, and reduce the number of small business failures.

This will, in turn, preserve and create new jobs and economic opportunities for many Minnesotans. All services are confidential and are low-cost or no cost. Information services and initial business counseling are free. Minimal fees are charged for seminars, workshops, cash flows, and market research. The team at SBDC is a wellspring of knowledge, assistance and resources and should be the FIRST stop for anyone considering starting a business.

Brainerd Small Business Development Center

Greg Bergman, Director

Mike Paulus is another great connect there. Free consults too.


Central Lakes College: CLC has a great Going Into Business for Yourself Course that is offered often.
3 hours, $49
Boatloads of information, click here to learn more.

Central Lakes College

BLADC: Anyone who’s thinking about starting a business in the Brainerd Lakes Area should contact the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), which can help you determine how to proceed and can share with you additional resources that will help you get started and give you a better chance of success. Click HERE to view a really good list of community resources and a ton of business planning tools that can help you get started.


Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce As the voice of business in the Brainerd Lakes Area, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber is the organization that connects businesses and leads the drive for responsible and profitable growth in the Brainerd Lakes region. The Chamber works to help businesses connect with people, organizations, and businesses; advocates on behalf of business interests on governmental concerns on the local, state, and national levels; and promotes business growth through marketing and educational programs.

The Chamber is also an excellent way to find local and reputable service providers like web designers, virtual assistants and accountants that will help your business grow. Learn how you can partner with the Chamber at

Our brand: Strength. Boldness. Loyalty. Partnership. Legends. Service. Our values: Leadership, Teamwork, Tenacity and Optimism.
Lakes Area Human Resources Association: Established in 1999, they are a group of human resource professionals from Brainerd and the surrounding area who are committed to promoting professional development, networking for constructive ideas and providing members with the awareness of political activities that affect the human resource profession. They are a Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM),


What good is your business if no one knows about you? There are several networking groups in our area and the direct benefit of these groups is the face-to-face factor. Not only do you get to connect with like-minded business people, all networking groups work together to promote each other’s businesses through referrals. It’s like your own personal sales team. Here are few of the networking groups in the Brainerd area.

BNI: BNI is business professionals building relationships on the idea of “Givers Gain.” I’ve belonged to BNI in the past and it is a phenomenal way to grow your business. BNI Groups in Brainerd include Leaders Edge, Leaders of the Lakes and Lake Country Connections. If you would rather networking with women only, Women In Networking is a good option as is the co-ed group LANG.

Women in Networking



co-work·ing ˌkōˈwərkiNG/
noun: co-working; noun: coworking
the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. “The whole idea of coworking is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide.”

Coworking is an amazing way to give your new business a professional presence without committing to months/years of rent leases. Many business can operate from home, but just as many need to have a classy and visible place to meet with clients. As a small business or a new business venture you can rent desk/office space and also conference room space. This is an affordable stepping stone to your entrepreneurial dreams.

The Brainerd Lakes area is blessed with a wonderful co-working center in the lower level of Black Ridge Bank. Clean, professional and easily accessible, Scott and Tessa Hall have created a wonderful place for small businesses to rent space, hold conferences, conduct meetings and have a place to “be” when creating a new business. This co-working space is one of many amazing options for new entrepreneurs in this area.

Brainerd BizSpace



Besides joining networking groups and the Brainerd Lakes Chamber (who also has wonderful meet-n-greet networking events like Business After Hours and C.H.O.W) there are a handful of other ways to get FREE P.R. for your business:

Brainerd Dispatch Business Notes: Did you know you can share information about your business and have it appear in the Business Notes section for free? These updates are only for events in your business or landmark changes like new staff or an award and can’t be “sale-sy” in any way. But it is still an excellent way to get your business’ name in front of prospective clients and newspaper readers.

“The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to, or fax to 218-829-0211, mail to Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 or use the drop-off box in the alley next to the Dispatch building on James Street. Questions are welcome to Renee Richardson at 855-5852.”


Doing a Sunday Spotlight on Lakes Area Mom Squad: This free service on this very blog allows local businesses to answer a series of Q&A type questions to “shine the spotlight” on their business and have their information get seem by the over 10K viewers that visit this blog every month. email me at Becky (at) LakesAreaMomSquad (dot) com or RebeccaFlansburg (at) gmail (dot) com for more details.

sunday spotlight


Business Basics:

CTC: CTC is a huge help for new business and it’s a resource I use myself. I can vouch for their great services, affordable pricing and a customer service team that has saved by bacon on may occasions. Business owners can establish phone numbers, email addresses, website, etc. to start putting together marketing materials prior to opening.



The Office Shop: Get the gear you need for your new business. From used office furniture to tax forms and office products, TOS is a great place to get your start-up supply needs. The Office Shop of Brainerd/Aitkin sells “everything for the office.”  Canon Copier dealer, NEW & used office furniture, & over 30,000 office supply items available. Locally owned & operated since 1983.

Website Creation and Design: Having a vibrant website is critical when creating your new business. How can people do business with you if they can’t find any information on the WWW about you? Corey Kretsinger from MidState Designs is one of the many qualified website creators in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Lakes Printing: Lakes Printing has been my one-stop-shop for quality business cards and marketing materials creation.

Lakes Printing

What resources have I forgotten? Add your opinion in the comment box below!




Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy This Winter Season

The winter season can be cold and beautiful, but it is called “cold and flu season” for a reason! Many people associate winter with sickness, and not always just the cold and flu. Stomach “bugs” and mysterious, annoying illnesses seem to plague families in the winter. How can you avoid them? Is there anything you can do to prevent these nasty bugs from bothering your family this winter?


Yes! There are some things you can do to boost your family’s health and help keep illnesses at bay. Here are some tips.

Rest and Sleep

Many families have schedules that keep everyone running during the day and up late at night. But resting and getting enough sleep are very important for staying healthy. While it’s understandable that some nights are late nights, it’s not a good idea to make staying up late and being sleep deprived into habits. Help your children balance activities and homework so they will get to bed on time.

Eat Well!

During the winter, there is not the abundant produce that we have in the summer. But there are still whole, healthy foods that are available and affordable. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta are readily available in the winter. Other healthy foods you can include in your family’s winter meals include:

* Winter squash
* Sweet potatoes
* Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricots, apples, figs, dates, cranberries, etc.
* Citrus fruits
* Frozen vegetables and fruits are more affordable and nutritionally similar to seasonal, fresh produce.
* Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources of fish oil, which is considered important for immune system health
* Greens like kale and collards

Vitamins and Minerals

It may help a lot to have everyone in the family on some sort of vitamin and mineral supplement. What supplement is best depends on everyone’s age and lifestyle; generally, a vitamin and mineral supplement that corresponds to family members’ ages should be fine. Make sure the supplement includes Vitamin D3, a key vitamin in fighting off illness, sources say.

Get Outside When You Can

The weather is not bad all winter. Whenever there is a sunny or milder day, get the family outside to get some winter sunshine and activity. Fresh air is a nice break from germ-laden, indoor air, and sunshine exposure helps your body make that important Vitamin D. If there’s snow on the ground, have snowball fights and build snowmen, and go sledding if you have the right kind of terrain. Winter hikes can be fun, too.


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