When the Shortest Month of the Year (February) Seems Like the Longest: Getting Active in the Local Cancer Community!

When the Shortest Month of the Year (February) Seems Like the Longest: Getting Active in the Local Cancer Community!

By Tim E. Renzelmann

Despite February being the shortest month of the year, to many it can seem like the longest! The days are short, nightfall comes early, and we may find ourselves experiencing the extremes of winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects about 4 to 6% of the population while many more experience a lesser form casually known as the winter doldrums or the winter blues.

Scientists do not fully understand what may cause SAD. Common theories include reduced serotonin levels (which regulates mood), overproduction of melatonin (which promotes sleep/sleepiness), or a decrease in Vitamin D levels (possibly caused by the reduction of sunlight over winter months). And, for some of our readers, there are the challenges of cancer treatment and cancer-related issues.

When it is cold outside and we are feeling sleepy or less ambitious, it is easy to curl up with a blanket in front of the TV and wait for warmer days. But what is easiest is seldom the best thing for us. Experts encourage exercise (which often increases energy instead of depleting it), spending time outdoors (especially during daylight hours), meditation (to reduce stress) and social connectedness (laughter is often the best medicine).

Whether related to Seasonal Affective Disorder, the pandemic (or cancer-related issues) depression has doubled and even tripled in the past couple of years. Depression can be a catch-22: The symptoms often keep you from doing that which will make things better. When you are tired, you may not feel like exercising. When you are feeling down you may not want to connect with a friend.

Try being proactive. Plan activities in advance. Make a commitment and share it with a friend who will hold you accountable. Sign up for one of our ST&BF activities or TLC gatherings. I promise I won’t come knocking on your door if you don’t show up, but simply making the commitment might be all you need to take that step to “get active.”

Take a look at the calendar and schedule of events at the end of this update and join us for some fun!

Getting Active in the Local Cancer Community (see attached PDF for photographs):

Thursday, January 27th – ST&BF Great Heights with Delightful Kites: We got some kites in the air in this POP-UP kite flying session! See Calendar of Events (2/8/22) for the next possible kite-flying opportunity to commemorate National Kite Flying Day!

Bob Hartig (see attached PDF) pilots his sled kite. An Opossum (see attached PDF) possibly attracted by Bob’s hat, came to visit. 😊 Photos by Chris Meyer.

Saturday, January 29th – LIVESTRONG at the Y Boot Camp: All area cancer patients are invited to participate in this weekly (Saturday) one-hour “boot camp” session that involves various short, easy-to-learn exercises. No Y membership required. Call Carrie or Denise for more information – 920.451.8004, xt 130.  Photo submitted by Jillene (YMCA Staff)

Monday, January 31st – The Indoor Row Group finished the Virtual Team Challenge that included in-person and virtual participation (see related article).

Tuesday, February 1st – Qi & Chat: This relatively new activity combines a simple/beginners Qigong practice (no experience necessary) with a follow-along video and a chance to chat afterwards (see details on pg. 4)

Wednesday, February 2nd – Indoor Row Group (IRG): We are commemorating the 2022 Winter Olympics with several fun “row and shoot” biathlons (using rubber band shooting guns to knock down Solo cups), scheduled throughout the month of February (see attached PDF)!

IRG Biathlon participants row four segments of 500m with a shooting stage in between each segment that consists of five shots at five Solo cups. For each “miss” (the guns are not very accurate, which adds a fun element of luck to the competition), participants row an additional 50-meter penalty. It’s just a lot of fun! Contact Tim for details about scheduled biathlons!

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