Light up your Seattle rainy days

Light up your Seattle rainy days

Last Updated on November 13, 2021 by Estrella

Seattle is known for its rain.  Come November, winter blues is felt by some people because of the lack of sunshine.  Their mood changes when it’s overcast outside.   If this is something you experience, here are some things you can do to light up your Seattle rainy days.

Full-spectrum light can help with winter blues

I use full-spectrum light (simulated sunlight) on those days when the sun is behind the clouds.  When I have the light on, I literally don’t feel bothered by the darkness outside.   We are naturally drawn to light that comes through the window.   It makes us feel good.   Full-spectrum light intends to simulate natural light.  That’s why we feel better when we have full-spectrum light on when it’s cloudy outside.

10,000 lux full-spectrum light

For a light to be effective in alleviating the winter blues, the lamp needs to have at least 10,000 lux.   I have seen some in stores that are at 5000 lux.   Those do not have the same effect.  Only buy the 10,000 lux.

One of the companies that make these lights is Verilux.  There are other companies, but I have only used lamps from this company, so I can speak from personal experience.

I have used Happy Light Deluxe as well as Happy Light Liberty from this company.   They are both light and portable, so you can just move them from room to room in your house.   You can even take them with you when you travel.

Happy Light Deluxe is larger than Happy Light Liberty.  Both can be desk lamps that can improve your mood as well as providing bright reading light.  I personally find the Liberty to be brighter because there is the option to remove the lid, so the light can be more intense if you want.

Both of these lights work best if you are within a certain distance of the lamps.  Here are some guidelines from Verilux on how close to sit for effective light therapy.

Actually, both are also available on Amazon if that’s where you usually shop.  Or you can buy directly from Verilux.  There may be discounts for first time visitor.

Even though you use these lamps to help you “start your day” when it’s overcast outside, both of them make good reading lamps as well.  It’s almost like reading in the sunlight.

So this is a natural way to change your mood on days when you don’t see the sun.

Another possibility to explore is visiting stores that sell indoor plants and lights.  I was once visiting a family growing indoor plants.  The light they use for the plant was so bright that I did not even notice the dark sky outside.

Go outside even on an overcast day

On overcast days, I find that if I go outside for even a short walk, I feel better.   I am still exposed to some light, and that helps.

There is something about being outdoor, even if I have to carry an umbrella, that makes me feel I’m not “stuck” indoor because of the weather.

And if you are close to Volunteer Park Conservatory, that would make a nice trip on an overcast day.  It’s filled with tropical plants in a long greenhouse.  It’s easy to feel transported to another climate zone when you are inside the conservatory.

Get together with friends on rainy days

Another way to beat the winter blues is getting together with friends for tea or coffee.  When you are surrounded by people whose company you enjoy, you are no longer focused on how gray the sky is.  The delightful conversation will help to lift the winter blues, even for just that one day.

And if you cannot get together in person, give someone a call, or get on a video chat with a friend.

Although it seems more fun to meet friends on a sunny day, their company helps to lift our spirit on rainy days.

So if your mood is affected negatively by the overcast sky in Seattle during the winter months, consider buying a full-spectrum light that is at least 10,000 lux.  Even if it rains, go outside, even if it’s just for a short walk.   And get together with friends in person or virtually.  A nice conversation helps to lift your spirit on an overcast day.

If you find this article helpful, you might also enjoy reading this one on staying healthy in Seattle winter.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email

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