Living Well in the Garden State: Feeling Sad?

Later sunsets tease us with hints of spring, but winter’s endgame can drag your spirit.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subset of depression related to winter’s longer periods of darkness. Daylight deprivation can reduce serotonin and other mood-supporting neurochemicals in your brain. While not recognized as a psychiatric illness per se, SAD can accentuate feelings of despair, guilt, lethargy, and cause difficulty concentrating.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, four-to-six percent of the population is affected. “It’s important not to be embarrassed about the effects of SAD,” says Montclair psychiatrist Edward Latimer. “You have to be open about its presence and manage it, not conceal it.”

Lighten Up

1. Take walks to get as much daylight as possible, even if it’s cold.

2. Tee it up down south. Myrtle Beach? No, South Jersey, where temperatures average four degrees higher     than up north.

3. Exercise 30 minutes a day to boosts feel-good endorphins.

4. Cut out refined sugars, which can make you feel lethargic.

Edward Latimer, M.D. psychiatrist Montclair

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