Winter Solstice 2014 - 10 tips to Beat the Dark Days

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors

Celebrate Winter Solstice on December 21, 2014 in the Portland/Vancouver Area


We’ve all noticed the days getting shorter of late, and this weekend, the shortest day of the year arrives. It marks the first official day of winter for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere. For people who live in the Portland/Vancouver area, Winter Solstice begins precisely  at 3:30 PM on Sunday.  

The December solstice has been a memorable part of our cultures worldwide, even in ancient times. In the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice occurs during the  season of dormancy, darkness, and cold. Yet, it also marks the slow return to more light each day thereafter. To many people, this return to light was a reason to celebrate nature’s cycle of continuation. 

Winter Solstice Closer to Home

On Sunday, December 21, 2014, the hours of daylight in Clark County, WA will be 8 hours, 41 minutes and 15 seconds. Conversely, the longest day of the year, which was on June 21 of this year, known as Summer Solstice, was 15 hours, 41 minutes and 14 seconds.  Seven hours difference in day light is quite notable, and noticeable! 

Many people assume the shortest day of the year is because the earth is farthest from the sun. Not so, and in fact, the Earth is actually making its closest approach to the sun (which actually happens a couple of weeks past solstice). Seasons have nothing  to do with the Earth’s orbit around the sun, but everything to do with how it spins around on its own axis. 

Regardless, changes in seasons are a reminder of the continual changes in our lives. Days come, and days go. Children are born, and then they grow. Do you savor each day with joy and excitement? If winter’s harsh weather and darkness bring you gloom, remember you have no control over the reality of its existence. You do however have control over how it affects you.

Beating Winter Gloom

Even the 20% of Americans who suffer from SAD, or  seasonal affective disorder, can beat it - here’s some advice health professionals and researchers. The tips originate from an article in Prevention magazine, online, December 2014. 


  1. Go for a walk in a winter wonderland. ( Sunlight strolls help clear SAD by boosting Vitamin D levels )
  2. Get a light box - and make sure you keep the blinds open.
  3. Head to the gym. Burning calories will help your heart, and your head.
  4. Look for Lighten Up classes, they combine exercise with light therapy.
  5. Eat more fruits and veggies - apparently a study finds produce consumption leads to happiness. 
  6. Chamomile eases anxiety. Ask your doc about taking a supplement.
  7. Take up a new hobby. Skate skiing, snow-shoeing
  8. Volunteer. Helping others helps you.
  9. Paint your interior walls a lighter color, surround yourself with cheer. Light candles, turn on the gas fireplace, or build a wood fire, etc. 
  10. ( My personal recommendation) Re-frame your thinking. Concentrate on the magic of this special season. Chances are, stark winter beauty surrounds you. And, remember, the days will now start growing longer again.


Do you have a favorite winter activity or tip that beats the blues? Or, perhaps winter is your favorite season of all. 

One of my favorite musical compilations about winter is Sting's album; If On A Winter's Night...he calls himself a "winter person." 

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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.






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  1. Roy Kelley 12/20/2014 06:00 PM
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Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Around 10 years ago, we had around 3 months of solid gloom - no sun peeking out even once.  Everyone one was in a funk.  When the day finally came that the sun popped out, the people in my husband's office (which had a lot of windows) stood up and clapped!  

So you tips could come in handy around here!

Dec 19, 2014 02:35 AM #8
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Love the graphic and message Debb!  And of course, Sting is one of my very favorite soulful artists... his folksy, bluesy songs are so magical and mysterious!  I'd marry him, but he's taken ;-)

Here's #11 for beating the winter blues...

When the weather outside is frightful, head for sunny southern California ;-)

Merry Christmas GF!

Dec 19, 2014 02:49 AM #9
Tom White
Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN

Debb, thanks for the great suggestions to move out of the winter doldrums! It's been unusually overcast here in the Nashville area for a few weeks and I don't know what's going on--we need to see the sun!!

Dec 19, 2014 03:41 AM #10
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Debb,  And let there be light!!!  It is difficult to adjust to the shortening days of daylight.  I am a sunshine kind of gal and I hate the shorter days.  I just have to dance in the sunshine while I can and then blaze all the lights at night!

Dec 19, 2014 04:12 AM #11
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Debb: Good tips to get through the winter solstice and come out the other side smiling and cheerful. I would love it to snow for Christmas but the forecast is calling for 60 degrees and sunny!

Dec 19, 2014 05:22 AM #12
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Debb Janes  I like your list as there are  numerous excellent ideas/tips included to beat the winter gloom. My personal choice these days is to hear to the gym for a workout. It clears your head and puts you into a better place in so many ways! 

Dec 19, 2014 07:01 AM #13
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Debb, this is a divine post! Just rays of sunlight during early morning walks with the dogs brightens my spirits SO VERY MUCH! Our home is dark in the front part of the house. I am a big one for area lighting and having lots of sparkly, lit up "STUFF" at Christmas makes me feel so much better. 

Other than the light boxes, I do the things you mention. This ought to be spotlighted, featured, "have a light put on it" as it affects many people!!! (Especially in the PNW).

Dec 19, 2014 07:11 AM #14
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Wow, your days are even shorter than ours.  We are about 9 hrs 13 mins. - Debbie

Dec 19, 2014 07:55 AM #15
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Oh and thx for the tips.  One thing that will help me is I have an upcomign trip to Mexico where it's warmer (and the days are longer this time of year.

Dec 19, 2014 07:57 AM #16
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hey all, I've read each of your comments. We made it throught the audit today unscathed. Hurray!  I'll be back tomorrow to visit you on your blogs. Thanks again for the visit - I appreciate you greatly. D 

Dec 19, 2014 08:59 AM #17
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hey Debbie, I completely forgot about the winter solstice arriving on Sunday.  Your days are shorter than ours are, but getting out early in the morning is one of the best ways I know to really breathe in the light and take advantage of the most peaceful and quiet time of a winter day.  Long walks definitely help fuel the endorphins and, absorb a little sunshine! Have a wonderful weekend girlfriend.

Dec 19, 2014 01:04 PM #18
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Hi hi Debb! This should be featured! I was always fascinated by the solstices, equinox' and seasonal processes. I had SAD before they called it that, in fact when my mom took me to the doctors for it they didn't know what was wrong with me. I eventually cured myself by moving out of NY to Miami! Hello!

Dec 19, 2014 07:20 PM #19
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good advice. Many people become depressed during the holidays.

Dec 19, 2014 10:06 PM #20
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Debb, Thanks for the reminder that the 1st day of winter is tomorrow and many excellent list to stay Happy or just listen to Pharell Williams song I love it and it just makes me want to dance!

Dec 20, 2014 07:15 AM #21
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Debb - I am now ready for the day - and happy that tomorrow will bring us more light! even a minute or two is cherished - and I will light more candles now! 

Dec 20, 2014 08:02 PM #22
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Of course I do.....Dewar's!

Dec 20, 2014 10:10 PM #23
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Debb Janes it is tough when the days get short, but you need to make the most of our beautiful Colorado sun for those 8 hours!   

Dec 20, 2014 11:05 PM #24
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Twenty three degrees of separation is enough for me to handle. Give me the Summer over Winter Solstice any day Debb Janes

Dec 20, 2014 11:21 PM #25
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I'm enjoying reading your comments. Roger, you make me laugh. :)  I hear you Kevin. D 

Dec 21, 2014 12:06 AM #26
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Debb, I think I learned more about science on your post here than I did in all my high school science classes!!!!  I just can't imagine living in Norway or Northern Alaska with all that darkness during the winter!!!!  

Dec 21, 2014 11:22 AM #27
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REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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