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Surviving the Northwest Winter Blues

Editorial Note: Meet Cortnee Blayton, a social media marketer for an e-commerce company in Seattle, and join her in a #NWAdventists blogging journey about everyday faith. Her favorite Christian saying is "God doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies the called."

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 18:22).

Before relocating to Seattle for work in 2017, I’d heard about the rain and cold weather, but I was in no way prepared for the grey, misty gloom and the seasonal sunrises after 8 a.m. followed by sunsets around 4 p.m. Then there’s the annual snow that seems to dump more and more inches of frozen sleet across the Pacific Northwest each year.

Growing up in the desert of Southern California, I was always taught to limit “outside” activity when the weather was inclement. News reports were bleak and overly cautious about staying home and avoiding the roads if there was any chance of rain. But alas, this method of living is not sustainable when residing in Seattle with approximately 150 days of rain a year. Although round-trip flights to Southern California are priced around $150, it quickly became infeasible with my work schedule to travel back home every other month just for vitamin D.

In came the winter blues.

I was unaware that Seasonal Affective Disorder exists and can come in like a full-force locomotive right at the height of winter — or if you’re like me, in the spring when it is still raining and not 70 degrees yet. 

Thankfully, I’m often reminded that God’s word says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine ...” So, I believe God wants us to be happy and happiness can aid in healing us. For those of us required to report to the office at least three days a week and unable to get out of the Pacific Northwest when the weather becomes a little too much to handle, here are five methods I’ve tried and recommendations I’ve received for fighting the winter blues.

Alarm light

I landed in Seattle on Jan. 1, 2017. Within the first week of working in the office, I heard a recommendation to get a sunrise alarm clock to offset the lack of sun readily available to wake me up. This was a viable and low-cost investment as I transitioned from a surplus of morning light in Los Angeles to no sunlight until 8 a.m. in Seattle. Now, I simply yell at Alexa to turn on all the lights at about 6 a.m. to help me get out of bed. Either way, the effects of bright lights have cut down on my need to stay in my warm, cozy bed all day.

Get active

World Health Organization reports, “Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.” Whether it’s using a standing desk when working or investing in one of those under-the-desk treadmills, actively moving your body acts like medicine. Do you have a gym membership or monthly subscription to your favorite Pilates or high-intensity interval training class? Use it regularly for the benefit of your well-being. 

Start a walking club

If you’re like me and require extra support to stay active, then starting a walking group could work for you. In addition to the obvious benefits of safety and companionship, Harvard Medical School reports, “... being part of an outdoor walking group can improve health in many ways, including improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate, total cholesterol, body weight, body fat, physical functioning, and risk of depression.”


"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).

Why not move your body while giving back? Sign up to package food at a food bank or start a church program to compile and deliver goods to those in need. Unfortunately, the number of unhoused individuals and families living below the poverty line continues to escalate across the country as we face inflation, loss of jobs and slow salary growth. 

The opportunities to serve are endless and as God’s children we should be living proof of the promise stated in Acts 20:35: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Get a pet

I have not crossed over to welcoming a pet into my home yet, but I’ve noticed all my friends who have a dog venture outside for walks once or twice a day. Friends with larger dogs like huskies or malamutes are walking nearly 5 miles a day. If you are into smaller pets, The Seattle Times just reported the Chihuahua is now the most popular dog breed in Washington. 

Talk to a professional

Some of us are living with treatable, undiagnosed health conditions from a lack of nutrients or other vitamin deficiencies that are easier to come by in warmer months. If you are looking for a natural fix for the winter blues, try a naturopathic doctor or nutritionist who could recommend supplements or help you adjust your eating habits to give your body the nutrients it needs. Therapy is also an option. There are licensed therapist and clergy who are employed specifically to listen to their clients and provide actionable advice for combating the winter blues.

Have any recommendations for fighting the winter blues? What works for you? Let us know by emailing us at



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