In various countries across the world, we turn our clocks back in the fall to go back to “standard time” and end Daylight Savings Time. For some this is exciting and it sounds like an extra hour of sleep! But for others, they see days or weeks of adjusting to the end of daylight savings time ahead. Here I will reveal the main issues I am having with this adjustment, and share some of my solutions. These are by no means the most expert solutions, but perhaps they will spark some ideas for you if you are having similar struggles. Please feel free to share in the comments if you have any tips or advice!
It’s Dark After Work
The hardest part for me is realizing that when I finish working, it is dark outside and I still need to get things done. While in a tropical climate, I often waited until dusk to go for a walk or head to the grocery store because I would be spared from the glaring sun and direct heat. But in Germany, my mind has associated dark with cold and therefore, I want to stay indoors!
I am writing this on Wednesday. Just three days after the change occurred. I can tell you that it has been harder for me to accomplish anything in the evening. I have been falling asleep closer to 9 pm than 10. However, it does not seem to lead to a better quality of sleep as I have been waking up more throughout the night.t
Instead of giving in to the temptation to crawl into bed, I will find restful but productive things to do with my evenings. It might be catching up with a friend, creating some art, or reading a book. Consider for yourself, how might you make these dark evenings more enjoyable?
I don’t feel like exercising.
In the summer, I love to wake up early and go for a walk to watch the sunrise. I also love evening walks at the golden hour, when the sun is setting or has set and everything just looks bathed in golden light. But now with all the darkness, I will have to find new motivation to keep me moving. I have no desire to walk in the dark when there is nothing to see.
However, I did try it! I felt like a target for the bicycles that speed along the walking paths in the early morning. I was so focused on staying out of their way, I never really relaxed into the walking. One walker had her own flashing lights on her vest, warning others of her presence the same way the bikes do. Perhaps I have to do the same if I am going to push myself to keep walking in the dark. But that seems unlikely at the moment.
Trying to force myself to exercise has never worked for me. I end up feeling too much shame and guilt, and not accomplished at all. So for this issue, I am asking myself to listen to my body and find creative solutions to my desire to hibernate. I am trying out some energy routines from Donna Eden to boost my energy and perhaps get me up and dancing more around the house. A few days a week, I get my Yoga mat out and start with some basic stretches. I am also keeping an eye on Mindvalley for the Tai Chi course that they are coming out with soon. I believe Tai Chi might be the perfect balance for me of exercise and energy work. What is your solution?
My Stomach doesn’t know the time
Even my stomach seems to have trouble adjusting. I use intermittent fasting in the mornings, and usually don’t eat until 12 pm. However, now my stomach is growling by 10 or earlier. I wonder how much my disrupted sleep is having an impact on my hunger levels.
I usually try to eat on a pretty consistent schedule, keeping around an 8-hour window where I take in nutrients. However, when I’m overtired or feeling out of sorts, I feel more inclined to snack outside my eating window. This is something I am aware of even in these early days of the shift. I will keep an eye on it as time passes.
Right now I am continuing to fast as often as it feels comfortable. I drink a liter of warm water when I wake up, so that takes away some of the hunger. If it comes back soon, I add some coconut oil to coffee and get my morning fat for my brain. Some would say this breaks the fasting window, but I’m okay with that. For me, it’s about feeling good, so unless it takes away from my energized feeling, I will continue.
I say this may be temporary because I am always listening to my body. If for some reason fasting in the morning isn’t what’s good for me, I will try something new. Perhaps in the winter, I need to fast in the evenings. I will listen to my body to find out. Perhaps part of the journey of adjusting to the end of Daylight Savings Time for me will be getting to know my body better, and practice my listening skills.
It’s Still Not Sunny When I Wake Up
I might be more amenable to this whole time change situation if it were sunny when I wake up in the morning. But unfortunately, I still wake up in the dark. The sky starts to lighten around an hour after I rise, and I feel relieved. But I know that getting sunlight into my eyes is one of the things that helps my body set its circadian rhythm. And some days, even with the lighter sky, there is no sunlight. I just see a whitish-gray haze.
Well, I can commit to catching more sunrises! Watching them really brightens up my day, which is why I jumped on this East facing apartment. But another idea for those first hours when it’s still dark occurred to me just this morning. I decided to light a candle while I meditate. I think this may become a piece of my morning ritual. I enjoyed the ambiance of having that soft light to meditate by.
I have used a Happy Light in the past to help simulate this morning sun. If I notice myself becoming too sleepy during the day, that will be one of my first responses.
I hope my musings here might have helped you come up with some of your own ideas to adjust to the end of daylight savings time. It’s one of those things that we can’t change, but we can use as a tool to help us learn more about ourselves and grow as humans.
I would love to hear if you have additional tips and tricks to use at this time of year! I have had a 3 year break from this change while living in Asia so I am re-learning what I was probably an expert at before.