Looking After Your Mind & Body When The Clocks Go Back
With the start of Fall comes beautiful foliage, crisp evening air, and unfortunately, shorter days. Learning to balance the changes of Daylight Savings Time is key. When the clocks turn back, there’s a subtle shift in our routine. The ease of every day seems disrupted; as if you must welcome a whole new routine all over again with the change of sunlight.
We’ve all been there. But looking after yourself a little more at this time of the year can kickstart it all. Take some time to prepare yourself for the time change with these helpful tips.
Understanding How Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Mind & Body
When the clocks go back, a flipped sleep cycle comes back around as you (and the kids!) essentially get to sleep in. At first, it feels great. However now, you’re lacking in sunlight after months of brighter evenings. Light is the feel-good factor we all know and love.
If you find yourself feeling a little “off” in Autumn and Winter, this is actually quite common. Did you know that the lack of sunlight can actually cause a disturbance in the brain where the sleep hormone, melatonin, can increase production; and the mood hormone, serotonin, can lower which lead to feelings of tiredness? Your internal clock is altered too. Naturally, we use sunlight as an indicator to wake up, and darkness as a sign to sleep. So lower light levels can mess up your body clock in winter. (See this page for more on the topic of sleep.)
It’s smart to keep a close eye on your emotions and be more mindful of your moods and energy levels.
Be Prepared With A Daily Routine
By making a few small conscious lifestyle changes, you can help maintain a healthy and balanced mood. Nothing drastic, just simple ways that improve your mood.
Keeping exercise routines up during the darker months can make all the difference. With exercise often come self-esteem boosts. Creating a consistent workout routine that slots into your schedule is all it takes. Try a high-energy dance class or form a running club with your friends. (Or even our 10 minute workout routine.) Even walking more can help with your mood.
And if you’re looking for some simple, easy wins…
- Get a wake-up light alarm clock that mimics sunrise and encourages your body to wake up slowly, as it would throughout summer.
- Wake up a little earlier and do something just for you. Maybe it’s morning yoga or meditation? A few simple stretches or journaling?
- Run a warm bath before bed or read, with the aim of falling asleep earlier.
Embrace Healthy Eating Habits
It’s a well-known fact that eating healthily can help maintain your energy levels. By keeping your healthy eating habits regular, it’s easier to keep your daily routine in check.
Eating consistently balanced meals that include foods that release energy slowly is the key. Think a mix of proteins, carbs, and veggies.
Here are a few suggestions that you can make quickly and easily…
- Breakfasts that include eggs, avocado, oatmeal, or yogurt
- Healthy snacks such as berries and nuts
- Nutrient-dense lunch options like a grilled chicken, salad, or whole wheat pasta
- Balanced evenings meals with lean meats or fish, whole grains like rice or lentils, and lots of fresh vegetables to go with it.
The simple act of embracing a healthy diet and lifestyle can lift your mood, increase your energy, and transform your tiresome sleep cycle.
Daylight Savings Time has the power to play with your mind and body, but only if you let it. Take back control of your sleep cycle and say goodbye to SAD with small lifestyle changes. Who knew healthy eating and a daily routine could save the season?
Check out our articles on simple ways to feel relaxed, starting a low stress lifestyle, daily things you can do to feel calm, and keeping relaxed during your day. See our wellness topics here. Or simply scroll down.