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In our series, One Fun Thing, we’re collaborating with Anne Browning, PhD, associate dean for Well-Being at the UW School of Medicine, to bring you small, specific and low-effort ways to have more fun, plus a question to help you check in with yourself and others, and well-being resources. 

We’ve reached the time of year when many of us go to work before the sun rises and come home after the sun sets.

Seattle is infamous for its dark, rainy season, and this gloom can zap the energy and mood of even the most time-tested Seattleites.

If you’ve been feeling down or sluggish, give yourself a boost by embracing the drizzle and getting outside during the day. Taking a walk outside in natural light — especially if you’re able to get into nature — can do wonders for your health, brain and mood. As a bonus, time spent outdoors can be a whole lot of fun.

One fun thing: spend time outside

A graphic of ways to enjoy being outside.

We’re lucky to have a lot of nearby places to spend some time outside, whether you’re in urban nature, local green spaces or one of our neighboring National parks.

If you can, snag 15 minutes on your lunch break to walk outside with a co-worker or enjoy a weekend outing at a park. It isn’t always easy to carve out time for these breaks, but even getting into natural light one or two times a week can make a meaningful difference.

With a rain jacket, a couple of layered sweaters, and some friends, braving the cool weather can be an invigorating adventure. We promise we won’t tell if you start singing in the rain.

Question of the month

A way to check in with each other and ourselves. Use this question to connect with co-workers at your next meeting, to start a conversation around the dinner table or as a journal prompt.

What is an outdoor place you love going to in the summer that you could explore during the darker, colder months?