Living with Seattle's Long Dark

It's that time of year again, where the sun sets before 7 PM and a perpetually gray blanket of clouds once again descends on the Emerald City.

The Long Dark in Seattle has begun.

As an introvert, fall and winter are two of my favorite seasons here in Seattle. The city slows down, social events become less frequent but more cozy, and I get to snuggle up in a blanket and read while listening to the rain drumming on the porch.

But as someone with depression, fall and winter can be the most difficult seasons of the year. At its worst, the Long Dark gives us a paltry 8.5 hours of sunlight. Add in the November reversion to standard time and my night owl sleeping habits... I'm lucky to see 6 of those hours some days.

Thankfully after living in Seattle for five years I've figured out a variety ways to cope with it. So far, these are a handful of things that have worked well:

  • Long lunchtime walks with my dog to soak in the sun
  • Bright lights indoors until 8 or 9 PM
  • Hot coffee to warm me up and wake me up
  • Regularly hitting the climbing gym
  • Hot pho and other soups
  • Movie nights with friends
  • Snowboarding adventures
  • Weekend hikes and camping trips
  • Hobbies like video games and programming that blast my eyes with light
  • Vacations down south, often in Utah to visit family
  • Accepting that my brain will be a little down on itself for a while

It took me a while to build up a good toolkit to fight back against the literal and figurative darkness. But now that it's in place, I've been weathering the worst of the winters well.

While the Long Dark may sometimes be tough, the rest of the year more than makes up for it.

I love this city!

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