Tackle Daylight Standard Time like a boss and make the cold weather months ahead the best ones yet.
Last night our clocks were turned in reverse by one hour, some by our own two hands, others by the mysterious workings of technology at 2 AM, ushering in the shorter days of autumn and winter. Though November 2nd makes it official, the shift in time has been imminent as our mornings and evenings have been growing darker by the day. While I’m looking forward to sunnier mornings — rising at 6:30am in the pitch dark has been proving difficult — the trade-off comes when the sun sets at 5pm. Suddenly I find myself feeling exhausted by the end of the workday when just a few months earlier I would have been ready to stay out well past midnight. Just as we spring forward with full force when the days are bright and long, this time of year invites us to fall back a little, to turn inward and allow our bodies to rest, renew and hibernate.
Daylight standard time offers the perfect opportunity to tune in to what your body needs, be it more sleep, better nutrition, mindful movement, or some combination of the three. With winter not far off, hit the ground running with these tips, and conquer the dark, cold months ahead with positivity and health:
Rise early: Sure, you might still be sleeping off a bit of that Halloween fun but, this time of year, when the sun rises and sets early, is when we should be striving to soak up as much natural light as we can. Rather than taking that extra hour of sleep for granted by going to bed later, try turning in early and waking as the sun rises. When you wake, resist the urge to immediately look at your phone — instead, throw back the blinds and allow the morning’s first light to wash over you. Trading the blue light of your phone first thing in the morning for natural light not only saves your eyes some strain, but the exposure to early AM rays allows your body to wake more naturally, regulating your circadian rhythm and boosting your mood. Having trouble getting out of bed? Try making your coffee the night before or planning a great breakfast to look forward to — the anticipation will give you that much more reason to fling the covers off.
Move more: It’s easy to blame your waning motivation for exercise on ‘hibernation’ but really, at least in my case, it’s the cold and dark that turn us off from moving as much as we did in the warmer months. Plan to get your blood pumping for at least 30 minutes each day. It could be an early morning yoga session, a brisk walk at lunch, or making the commitment to hit the gym after work. Exercise is an incredible mood booster, clutch for when the winter blues hit, and maintaining your routine now means you’ll be able to take advantage of winter sports later on without fear of injury, and moving your muscles will aid in deeper, more healing sleep.
Eat what’s in season: There’s a reason we crave warming fruits and vegetables this time of year — it’s what’s in season! Strive to incorporate nourishing root vegetables like beets, rutabaga, pumpkin and turnips, and colorful fruits like pears and apples into your diet. They provide key nutrients for warding off colds and the flu, and keeping to what’s available locally means you’ll be supporting local producers.
Get outdoors: Even if it’s for five minutes during your lunch break, exposing yourself to mid-day sun allows your body to better produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. Exposing your eyes (where you soak up this key nutrient) to the suns rays during the day will allow your body to better receive the signals for sleep later in the evening. Mid-day sun is also a great mood booster and a great way to break out of that afternoon slump. Try bundling up and taking your lunch outside, or make a commitment with a friend at work to take a walk in the afternoon.
Power down: Strive to turn off devices and power down the TV at least an hour before you plan to hit the hay. The blue light emitted from our devices tricks our brains into believing that it’s daytime, making it that much more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when the time comes. Create a nighttime routine to allow your body to ease into restfulness — read, take a bath, work on an offline project or make a big cup of tea. Allow yourself the rest you need to make each day of the season the best one yet.
+ What are your tips for tackling Daylight Standard Time? Please share!