Here we are at the dreaded ‘fall back’. I was just talking to my co-worker about how the Monday after we set the clocks back seems like the longest day of the year. By setting the clocks back we got an extra hour on Sunday. Now, at 3:30 on Monday afternoon, I’d be more than willing to give it back. Take my hour. Please.
I’ve been thinking about my personal survival guide for the winter darkness lately. I get up at 4 a.m. to teach a morning fitness class. It’s dark. After class, I get ready for work and travel 40 miles. Today it rained the entire way. I spend much of day in a cube in a lower level building with no natural sunlight. I leave work at 5 p.m. to travel 40 miles home. It’s dark again, and tonight it will still be raining.
My life isn’t dismal. I just happen to live in the part of the United States where it is dark most of the time from November to March. For the past couple of years I’ve been focused on maintaining my energy level and mood throughout the season of darkness rather than succumb as I have in years past.
Five Tips for Surviving Daylight Savings Tme:
1. Vitamin D Supplements – They call Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin. Studies have shown that many people that live in colder climates cannot get enough Vitamin D from natural sunlight alone. Vitamin D deficiency can cause a host of problems including a higher risk of some cancers, weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis and depression.
The Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D is 600 IU daily for people between the ages of one and 71. People over 71, pregnant and lactating women may require more. While taking a Vitamin D supplement may not replace the benefits of natural sunlight, it can help us survive the winter months until we can get more of the real thing back in our life.
2. Take Stretch and Walk Breaks At Work -
With decreasing daylight we spend more time indoors and our activity level naturally starts to decline. Look for other ways to get more movement in your day along with the stretch and walk breaks. If you have access to stairs during the day, climb a couple of flights on your lunch hour.
Set a goal to take at least 10,000 steps a day, stick to it and track it. Finding a co-worker to join you on your stair climbs and walk breaks will help you stay on task. If you want to go really crazy, launch a 10,000 Steps-A-Day workplace wellness challenge and get all of your co-workers involved.
3. Stock the Fridge With Green Leafy Vegetables –Green leafy vegetables contain folate, commonly known as Vitamin B. People with a deficiency in folate can experience insomnia, irritability, fatigue and forgetfulness. Depression has been found to be one of the most common side effects of low folate. Vitamin B, the most common vitamin deficiency in Americans, is attributed to poor diet.
Some of the best sources of folate are spinach, asparagus, green peas, broccoli, and romaine lettuce. Other good sources are avocados, orange juice, eggs, and bananas. Consuming at least five servings of green, leafy vegetables a day will help keep your mood sunny on gloomy days.
4. Fill Your Evenings With Light and Fragrance– If you get home on a dark, rainy evening and feel like crawling under a blanket for an evening of reality TV, try turning on several small lamps and fill the house with fragrance to enhance your mood. An abundance of warm light and your favorite scents make a great combination and fragrance is known to be a natural mood booster.
There are so many options for home fragrance. Oil lamps, candles, incense and scented wax will fill your space with aroma. We are all so individual in our preferences it’s hard to recommend fragrances, but you can’t go wrong with the variety found at the White Barn Candle Company and Bath and Body. I personally love the Winter Candy Apple and Hot Buttered Rum from Bath and Body. Plus the store usually has a sale or coupon to take advantage of which makes it very affordable.
5. Keep Your Sense of Humor – I’ve befriended Maxine on Facebook and watch Seinfeld re-runs when I get home from work. Family Guy or Comedy Central might be more your cup of tea. Whatever makes you laugh will work. The political wars played out on various news networks will always be there. So will crime show dramas. Stick with the upbeat, funny, lighthearted shows that will make you laugh.
You Can Beat The Blues!
Don’t let the extra hour of darkness destroy your energy, motivation or disposition. Try these Daylight Savings Time survival tips and see if they work for you. And remember, spring is only six months away.
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