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The Winter Solstice

Written by: Hailey Peckat | Program Manager at Fitness at SPS Tower | AdvantageHealth Corporation

December is a month of joy and excitement with all the holiday festivities, but it also brings about plenty of stress and anxiety for many people. One thing that contributes to the added stress and anxiety is the phenomenon known as the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice, which marks the official start of winter, occurs when the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still (farmers almanac). This results in the shortest amount of daylight in a 24 hour period. For Minnesota, this results in only 6 hours and 51 minutes of daylight. Winter Solstice in 2022 occurs on December 21. You may hear it referred to as the December Solstice.

You may find yourself more irritable, anxious, and frustrated due to the shortened daylight hours. It’s understandable to be bothered by it when it is dark when you arrive at work and when you leave work. There are a few things you can give a try during the Winter Solstice and the upcoming winter months to combat the low daylight hours.

Trying to stay active and maintain a normal exercise routine has proven to increase mood. Eating nutritious foods is also beneficial to help you feel better overall. Light therapy is another great option during the long winter months. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, utilizes a box with an artificial light source. The most common way to use light therapy is to utilize it within the first hour of waking for a duration of 20 – 30 minutes. The light box should be 16 – 24 inches from your face and you should not look directly at the light, but your eyes should be open. As with any treatment options, make sure to discuss treatment with your doctor to determine what the best option for you.


Since 2001, Minnesota-based AdvantageHealth has been delivering award-winning employee wellbeing programs and fitness center design & management throughout the U.S.

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