More than the Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is an insidious type of depression that wraps itself around those who are impacted, binding them tightly in a profound cocoon of sadness and lethargy that shows itself during the long winter months. Usually beginning in mid-to-late September, as the days become shorter and we have less exposure to natural daylight, the symptoms come on slowly, building to their crescendo of agony by the holidays and into January. Gradually, ever so slightly, symptoms improve as the daylight returns to the northern hemisphere, heralding of longer days. SAD often lasts until early April. 


Interpretive Naturalist Jeremy Darst enjoys giving tours and educating visitors about Whitewater State Park. Darst says, “The beauty of winter is that you can go lots of places off the trails because there’s no vegetation. There are also historical markers [in Whitewater State Park] you can see in the winter that aren’t visible in the summer.”

Whitewater State Park Snowshoeing Class

Darst begins the snowshoeing class at Whitewater State Park with a lesson in dressing for the cold as well as a few tips on snowshoes and how they work. It’s important to dress in layers. “It’s not necessary to have extremely warm clothes and gloves because you expend a lot of energy snowshoeing. Dress in long underwear and lightweight wind pants. If your clothing is too warm it will cause you to sweat. When you stop for a break, you’ll get cold from the sweat.” He also says lightweight gloves and a hat are ideal for snowshoeing. “You may want to wear sunglasses because of the sun’s reflection on the snow,” says Darst.



The word alone makes most people cringe and recoil. Many of us have been impacted by the loss of a friend or family member to suicide. Survivors are left with a gaping hole in their lives, guilt, sadness and the gnawing notion that they should have been able to prevent the tragic outcome. What would push a person to end their own life?  Is it an undiagnosed mental illness? Is it situational? Suicide is final, an unfathomable end. If we look at our lives through a different lens, could we pause, regroup and perhaps choose another option?  



Happy Feet: Health for the Sole

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Written by By Caitlin Summers

Look down at your feet for one second. Most of us probably don’t think about our feet much. However, feet need much more than scrubbing, clipped toenails and fancy polish. Feet are the foundation of our bodies, and they go through a lot—exercise, high heels, winter boots, flip flops and even going barefoot. The point is that when we don’t take care of our feet, we can experience debilitating pain. Thankfully, local experts on feet have advice that will offer great relief to your mind and your soles. 



Get Your Fitness On: Fun Ways to Get Fit This Summer

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Written by By Melissa McNallan, Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography

Are you looking for some fun ways to stay in shape this summer? Try Zumba on the Plaza, pole fitness or challenge yourself to running.


Mother’s Day is about honoring what moms go through when they are pregnant with you, when you colored on the furniture with permanent markers, when you and your brother kicked a hole in the wall pretending to be ninjas or that time you stayed out late and forgot to call to tell her you were okay. It’s safe to say mothers go through a lot of stress. Mother’s Day is a great way to make sure she remembers to take care of herself first before taking care of others. 



After the Battle, Jessica Williams Helps Cancer Survivors Livestrong at the Rochester Area Family YMCA

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Written by By Laurie Simon, Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography

Cancer is a life-encompassing ordeal. After treatment, many survivors are left facing a second battle. The body they knew before cancer is different—weakened by the destructive side effects of chemotherapy or altered by surgery. Fatigue and stress are a daily challenge, and the emotions associated with being sick can be overwhelming. Thanks to the newly launched Livestrong program at the Rochester Area Family YMCA, cancer survivors no longer have to face these challenges alone. 

Livestrong at the YMCA is a 12-week small group program for adult cancer survivors and their supporters. A joint effort of the Livestrong Foundation and YMCA of the USA, the program offers a holistic, research-based approach to help people affected by cancer reclaim their health and well-being. 


I am no stranger to back pain, so when I was asked to write this article, I jumped at the chance. I thought, now here’s a topic I know a thing or two about. I have had back pain for a good portion of my adult life, including surgery several years ago. This topic was in my wheelhouse. I wanted to get right down to the nitty-gritty and see what the experts had to say. 

Common sense teaches that proper posture is key to preventing back pain. As cute as they are, high heels and sandals do not provide your feet with appropriate support, which adds stress to your back. When you are young, you can get away with it for a while, but as you age, your body may begin to rebel. 



Blood Brothers: Shining the Spotlight on Hemophilia

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Written by By C. G. Worrell, Photography by Fagan Studios

In 1984, amidst excitement and fear, Lori Kunkel entered Methodist Hospital to deliver her first child—a boy named Jeff. Upon arrival, the infant appeared normal. Medical staff pricked his heel to perform routine blood tests. The next morning, Jeff’s heel kept bleeding, and his head had swollen beyond what was considered normal for a forceps delivery. Doctors emergently transferred him to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Marys Hospital for further testing. Lori was stunned by the diagnosis; her beautiful son had hemophilia, a rare genetic condition that impedes blood clotting.



Coping with Grief: A Survivor’s Guide to Recovering from Loss

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Written by By Catherine H. Armstrong

Grief. It’s a life experience that’s unavoidable. It affects the young and old alike. Grief has no regard for race, color, creed, culture or gender; it shows no prejudice. It is an equal opportunity defiler of happiness.


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