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Lynn Evansohn of The Counseling Center: Are You SAD?


By Lynn Evansohn, LCSW, The Counseling Center

Jan. 31, 2018:  The year has started out here in the Northeast to be a frigidly cold and challenging winter. What is it about the grayness of winter that makes us want to hibernate and find the comfort of hot chocolate and a soft couch from which we can push back against the winter blues?

Every season has its impact on our physical and emotional state. Winter, a time of conservation and storage, is also a time when people feel less energetic, sleepier, and maybe even gloomy.

SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is estimated to affect 10 million Americans and is four times more common in women than in men. It is essentially about depression that appears or is exacerbated in winter. SAD refers to the low mood and energy that occur annually, beginning in the fall and continuing through the winter months.

This low energy can creep up quietly and slowly and be noticed as a depressed, touchy, or irritable mood. Maybe a partner who is generally positive becomes unmotivated and argumentative. Perhaps you find yourself spending long weekends alone at home.

It’s part of life to have days when you feel down or days when you want to curl up with a book and shut out the world. But if you feel down for days at a time or if these changes affect your ability to feel motivated, to enjoy relationships, or to function at work or at home, this may mean that there is more going on than just the winter blues. It may signal a deeper depression that should be evaluated by a professional. There’s plenty that can be done to help, and so reaching out is a first step.

Although there is limited research regarding SAD, there are several theories as to why the darker months contribute to winter blues. One theory is that the body produces more of a hormone called melatonin during the longer, dark hours of winter. The increased melatonin production in turn causes people to feel sleepier and more lethargic. For example, getting out of bed in the early hours, whether to go to school or work, may become extremely difficult for those with SAD. For some, this impairs the ability to manage their daily routine. This would be an opportunity to seek a professional assessment. For many, it simply makes life routines more difficult. Ask any parent of a teenager!

Another theory explains that because dawn comes later in the winter, people wake up with higher levels of melatonin, and this in turn can cause lower thyroid, cortisol, and serotonin levels in the brain. These lowered levels may then cause changes in mood, energy, and appetite. Last, some theories posit that less exposure to  bright light in the winter can contribute to the winter blues. Bright light seems to have an anti-depressant effect, to increase alertness, and to assist in synchronizing the circadian clock. Winter months have shorter days and longer nights, resulting in less time that people are exposed to bright light and its positive effects.

Pictured here:  Staff of The Counseling Center; Lynn Evansohn is center, back row.

Photo by Carolyn Simpson 

Editor's note:  As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes press releases and articles from local institutions and legislators. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in those press releases and articles and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


Record Turnout at Local Event Honoring Judge George McKinnis: See Photos

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By Rotary Club/Reformed Church of Bronxville Benefit Committee May 22, 2019:  A packed house gathered to honor Judge George C. McKinnis with a Lifetime of Community Service Award at...

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Community Service Organizations Directory

Community Service Organizations

Bronxville Beautification Council

Organized in 1982 and incorporated in 1993, the Bronxville Beautification Council (BBC) is a not for profit organization administered by a Board of Directors. Its mission is to enhance and maintain the natural and man-made beauty of Bronxville Village, with emphasis on the downtown business district of Bronxville. The BBC uses the dollars raised in its annual spring solicitation letter to residents to fund the mum, tulip and summer flower plantings downtown and at traffic intersections, as well as the summer hanging baskets. Every few years the group spearheads such major endeavors as the renovation of Leonard Morange Square on the west side of the railroad tracks and the beautification of the Lawrence Hospital traffic circle, which included the addition of plants and the building of the fountain that now makes a gracious western portal to our town. The BBC also works with other civic groups to monitor the aesthetics of retail signage, the consistency of sidewalk materials, and litter and graffiti. During Beautify Bronxville Week, the BBC sponsors a poetry reading and works with Scout groups on the annual village clean-up. 

Bronxville Beautification Council
PO Box 127
Bronxville, New York 10708

Bronxville Boy Scouts

The village of Bronxville has a long tradition of scouting. “The troops and packs of Bronxville have maintained the finest scouting organizations and have taught the boys of the Bronxville area to be leaders and outstanding members of the local, national and global communities.”

There are several Boy Scout Troops in Bronxville, including Troops 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Bronxvillle Girls Scouts

The Girls Scouts is “the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world.” In Girl Scouts, “girls discover the fun, friendship and power of girls together. Through the many enriching experiences provided by Girl Scouts, they can grow courageous and strong.”

Bronxville Historical Conservancy

The Bronxville Historical Conservancy was founded in 1998 to further the understanding and appreciation of the history and current life of the village. The Conservancy furthers its mission through the presentation of programs, publications, lectures and special events that foster an awareness of the village's architectural, artistic and cultural heritage, and lends its support for projects designed to strengthen and preserve those legacies. Anyone who is interested in the Bronxville and its history can become a member; varying levels of membership are available. 

Bronxville Historical Conservancy
PO Box 989
Bronxville, New York 10708


Bronxville School Foundation

The Bronxville School Foundation, founded in 1991, is a non-profit organization independent from the school with the sole purpose of supporting the school. The Foundation raises money each year through donations from school families, community members, and alumni, among others.These contributions fund grants that provide cutting-edge technology, innovative programs and curriculum and other resources that are beyond the scope of public school funding.

177 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Bronxville Women’s Club

The Bronxville Women’s Club offers lectures, exhibits and concerts. It also has a beautiful clubhouse which is available for rental for events.

135 Midland Avenue
Bronxville, New York 10708

Bronxville Youth Council

The Bronxville Youth Council provides volunteer and leadership opportunities for high school students in the village of Bronxville.

177 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-395-0500 ext 1789

Counseling Center

Founded in 1971, the mission of the Counseling Center “is to provide a wide range of psychotherapeutic and counseling services to individuals, couples and families by a staff of highly trained, experience and dedicated psychotherapists. 

The Counseling Center
180 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester & Tuckahoe

The mission of the Community Fund is “to support broad social services in Bronxville 10708, Eastchester and Tuckahoe through grants and technical support to local agencies and community projects. All money raised here in our community stays here in our community.” 

15 Park Place
Bronxville, New York 10708

Friends of the Bronxville Library

The Friends of the Bronxville Library is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to focus attention on the “Library’s services, facilities and needs” as well as sponsor projects and provide materials that are beyond the reach of the Library’s regular budget and perform other services. 

Junior League of Bronxville

The Junior League of Bronxville is “an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”

Rotary Club of Bronxville

The mission of the Rotary Club of Bronxville is to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and to encourage and foster (1) the development of friendships within the community as an opportunity for service, (2) high ethical standards in business and professions, (3) the application of the ideal of service of each member to his personal and business and community life and (4) the advancement of international understanding, good will and peace through a world fellowship.” 

Senior Citizens of Bronxville

Senior Citizens of Bronxville is a not-for-profit organization that provides services and programs to seniors within the 10708 zip code area. “Programs cover a wide range of activities from educational seminars and cultural enrichment, to community services, bridge classes and exercise.”



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