Hi everyone! Today is the winter solstice, AKA the shortest day of the year. In the Lower 48 I don’t think I ever really recognized this as an important day, even though it’s the official start to winter. But up in Alaska, the darkness is so noticeable that I actually begin to look forward to the winter solstice because it marks the return of longer, sunnier days. Our day is officially about 5 hours long today. But from here on out, it’s only going to get brighter!
Alaska is gorgeous in the winter, but the darkness really takes a toll on me. Seasonal Affective Disorder is no joke. I feel constantly tired and my entire body hurts, and I’m noticeably more depressed and anxious in the darkest months (December and January). It helps if I take daily vitamin D pills and short walks outside in the middle of the day. The sun is usually up above the mountains by 11:00 am and I have until about 3:30 pm until it sets again, which is perfect timing for a lunchtime walk with Ridley. The sun is so low on the horizon that it looks like it’s setting all day long though!
My plans for the shortest day of the year include a lunchtime walk to make sure that I see the sun while it’s up, and possibly attending a solstice celebration in Cuddy Park in midtown after work (the event has a free snowga class and fat bike demos!). I also feel like I need to take a moment to set some intentions for the new season. I’ve been feeling so blah lately and I’m going to try to take advantage of this shift into winter to turn things around. It’s funny that solstice marks the first day of winter, because we’ve been pretty much in winter mode since October. But winter is so gorgeous that I can’t wait to officially celebrate the start of it!
Some solstice themed links:
- Check out this breakdown of daylight hours in Alaska. Thank god I don’t live in Barrow/Utqiagvik, they won’t see the sun up there for another month!
- I am totally loving this article in the Alaska Dispatch News giving a bit more information about the winter solstice in general, as well as fun ways to celebrate it in Anchorage.
- Here’s a time lapse video of the sun on winter solstice that was shot here in Anchorage – you can see how low the sun stays all day!
- Check out this post I wrote last winter on combating SAD and the general winter blahs. I still stand by all of these tips! Vitamin D for the win!
- And just for funsies – here’s a recap of my first winter in Alaska! Oh man, the day that moose visited our office was a good time 🙂
Do you celebrate the winter solstice? Are you excited that winter is finally here?