As we lean into the fall season, we also gear up to set our clocks back one hour. In honor of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 am CST, we “fall behind” an hour, which many people embrace. (Hello, extra hour of sleep). However, there are still some who dread the dark days of fall and winter. This is quite common and even normal.
Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet says, “The changing of seasons can often lead to a slump in our health mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically. It is often when the days become shorter and cooler that we retreat inward in each of these areas and lay aside our health goals.”
It’s no wonder many people report feeling feel groggy, irritable, moody, tired and even sad, but don’t stress. Here are five ways you can look at the bright side of Daylight Saving Time and embrace it so you can make it work to your advantage.
1. Catch some zzz’s
During the long days of summer, the sun doesn’t set until well after 8 pm, which can prompt us to stay out later and longer. But during the fall season, the sun begins to set earlier. Take a cue from Mother Nature and start winding down sooner.
Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, and contributor to DisturbMeNot.co, says, “You can use the turning of the clock as an opportunity to adjust your circadian rhythm. By going to bed at the same hour as in the summer, you will be in bed one hour earlier.”
Dr. Velikova also notes “melatonin is mostly produced between 6pm and 9 pm, which means we are more inclined to get high-quality sleep between 9 pm and midnight.” Instead of cursing the darkness, embrace it and use this opportunity to catch some zzz’s.
2. Get grounded
During Daylight Saving Time, our bodies work to adjust our internal clocks to the Earth’s rhythm of the new season, which can actually be more challenging than it sounds! It’s important to feel connected to the Earth during this seasonal transition, so get grounded with lots of nutritious grounding foods and warming spices.
Ellen Cerasale, LCPC and Owner of Ellen Cerasale Psychotherapy, LLC says, “It can’t even hurt to occasionally trick our minds and bodies into thinking it’s July in the middle of a Chicago winter. Trade in the pumpkin spice latte and crock pot chili for strawberry lemonade and a light, fresh salad. Only conform to the seasonal norms that actually make you feel better, not worse.”
After all, holiday season is on the horizon, so take this time to get grounded, recharge, rest and refocus on you and your health.
3. Practice self-care
As temperatures drop and the air becomes dry, take advantage of the shorter days and slower months of fall by increasing self-care practices.
Cerasale says, “I try to empower my clients to embrace the change and challenge themselves to put self-care into high gear. We don’t have to feel like prisoners in our own homes during the winter, we just have to make some intentional, positive changes. Go ahead and apply extra moisturizer, drink more water or tea, light some candles, hang some twinkle lights, purchase a new set of essential oils and maybe even a weighted blanket, put on a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers, and slather on body lotion and get ready for some high quality self-care time.
And hey, don’t feel like you have to practice self-care solo. Plan a fall themed potluck with close friends and schedule some community time even during the darker fall days.
4. Take time to reflect
The slow fall and winter seasons are the yin to the yang of the busy spring and summer months, so embrace the desire to stay in and honor your biological need to hibernate. (Hey, if the animals do it, why shouldn’t we?) Kindly cancel plans, lay low, light some candles, turn inward to yourself and reflect. Writing and journaling during this time of year can lead to some very insightful thoughts.
5. Expose yourself to natural light first thing
Exposure to bright, natural light first thing in the morning signals the start of the day to your body. It energizes us and prepares us for the day ahead, so make it a point to get some exposure to natural light first thing in the morning. (All the more reason to shift your evening workouts to the early morning hours!) Whether you go for a brisk morning walk/run or just open your curtains as you go through a morning yoga flow or at-home workout, get some sun as you move your body for a double-dose of benefits.