black and white analog clock at 10 00
Photo by Swag Photography

How to deal with daylight savings

You’re already an hour behind, and the world won’t wait. Also, your dog doesn’t care.

Daylight savings week is statistically the least productive week of the year. No doubt Monday you woke up bleary eyed and wondering why you even bothered. Get hit by a truck much?

I get it. I feel it too. We have all this pressure to be Superwoman all the time, but this is the occasional kryptonite. So let’s look at what happens and what you can do to make this week just a little less sucky. In fact, you can make your whole life less sucky by applying these tips.

Why daylight savings sucks

Why is the change of one hour so hard?  It’s not just you. And the hit by a truck reference isn’t just a metaphor. Studies show that traffic accidents increase, there is a notable increase in heart attacks, and suicide rates go up, according to the New York Times.

Even if it’s not that drastic, you are likely going to feel off because of daylight savings. You probably will feel a little down and fatigued, especially during the day. And the reason is, you might guess, is the light. Light suppresses the secreation of sleep hormones, like melatonin. Because, there is more light later in the day, the body gets confused and thinks that it shouldn’t be releasing these hormones. So you are wide awake at 11pm, and bleary-eyed but awake at 6, Here’s how to deal.

person wearing blue leggings sitting near boxed water
Yoga and hydration are a powerful combination for this week. Photo by Boxed Water Is Better

How to deal

  • First, accept the situation. You are going to be at less than 100 this week. Don’t beat yourself up for not being a superhero all the time. Don’t get mad at yourself for forgetting to send that calendar invite. This week, and probably next week, you need to give you and everyone else in your life a pass.
  • Don’t take on any new major challenges or make any big changes this week. This is not the week to start training for a marathon, take on a big project at work, or overextend your zoom happy hours. If there’s a new tabata workout you want to try, I would recommend waiting a week.
  • “Detox” your calendar and decide whether all those meetings or “optional” activities are really needed. If the issue can be resolved over email, and you can cancel, then do that. If there’s 20 cooks in the kitchen and you don’t have a major role, then maybe sit that one out. These small tweaks and adjustments will free up your time and your brain to rest
  • Detox your body by being intenional about water intake, at least half of your body weight. Squeeze lemon in it to help give you an energy boost and cleanse ths system
  • Up your immunity regime. This is also a week you are susceptible to getting sick. Make sure you are taking elderberry and a daily vitamin C – many supplmeents combine the two, like this one.
  • This is a good week to “deload” from your workouts. Deloading is a fancy word for scaling back the intensity of your workouts. So this may be the week you focus on more gentle stretching, foam rolling yoga, and walking. That is what I am doing in my DAOfitlife exercise plan (you can access week 3 here).
  • Try to keep your schedule to as normal as possible, including eating, sleeping, and time of working out. For my fellow world travelers, this is the same type of advice applicable to get over jetlag – it’s painful, but resist the urge to take long mid-day naps! That will throw you off even more.
  • Sleep – adequacy and quality – is obviously a critical component of recovering from this funk. As part of this, you want to make sure your lights are tapered off as early as possible. For example, close the blinds at 5-6pm even if the sun is still out. Keep inside lights dim, and resolve to have your phone and computer off after a certain time of evening. If you have to, shut both of them down. Throw that phone in the drawer. Turn OFF email and text notifications. No one uses either of these in an emergency, and if they do, they are dolts who you don’t need to deal with this week.
  • Incorporate an additional nighttime self-care ritual this week, like a warm shower and/or chamomile tea before bed. Buy yourself something that will make you feel good, and appeal to your senses, like a specialty tea, a candle, a soothing body cream, a nice flavorful salad lunch, or a new perfume. Also, try not to do any type of workout 4 hours before bed. Even walking at a moderate pace can raise your core temparature, which makes it more difficult to sleep.

Key takeway

You are not alone! This week is not going to be a cake walk but you can help yourself by decluttering your schedule and focusing on decompressing.

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