Avoiding seasonal affective disorder

    Greetings from the Ridge.
    It happens every year if you’re crazy enough to stay in the Midwest during the numb, howling months of winter. You stock up on hot chocolate, a couple of good books, and start paying attention to the TV listings as the walls of your home start closing in and springtime seems just a dream. Cabin fever is real enough to have earned its own label, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it’s said to be bad enough to hinder the gray matter of some 18 million Americans each year.
    Time magazine quoted Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a fellow who’s studied the disorder long enough to surely become seasonally affected himself, and he’s come up with a short list of suggestions to fight the winter blahs. The good doctor recommends eating more beans, oats and almonds to get your energy goosed up. He also suggests making plans with your friends... perhaps arranging a few bean and oat eating parties. He goes on to suggest that we all take a 20-minute early morning walk when natural light is brightest. Looking out my window right now I’d say that anyone taking a 20-minute walk in this weather is not the brightest. Dr. Rosenthal concludes his list of cabin fever cures with the old bromide of getting more exercise, thus releasing what he calls the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Again, if I scrape enough ice off my frosted front window I see nothing promising good feelings of slip-sliding my way to the post office this morning.

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