Maximum Sunshine

Chippewa River. Eau Claire, WI

I’m originally from the Seattle area, AKA the darkest place in the lower 48. Which isn’t so great when you have a fairly whopping dose of Seasonal Effective Disorder.

When I decided to move out of the Pacific Northwest moving to a place with more light in the wintertime was one of my top criteria. My moving to Wisconsin sometimes puzzles people. Why would someone with SAD move somewhere it’s so cold? The answer’s pretty simple: SAD is about lack of exposure to sunlight, it doesn’t have anything to do with temperature and as someone that likes winter (as long as it’s sunny!) I can get outside and get plenty of light almost every day. The best way to represent this is what’s called Mean Monthly Sunlight Hours. The top chart below shows Seattle’s amount of monthly sunlight, the bottom numbers are for Minneapolis, 100 miles west of here. Look at January: over double the light in MPLS! Of course if you hate cold and snow Eau Claire’s probably not for you.

Overall, as long as you like going outside and don’t find cold weather horrible a place like Eau Claire can work just fine with SAD.

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