By: Brittany Patrick, Columnist
Just a few nights ago, our clocks turned in reverse by one hour – some by our own hands, others by the mysterious workings of technology. The shift in time has been impending as our mornings and evenings have been growing darker by the day.
Suddenly I find myself feeling exhausted by the end of the day, when just a few months earlier I would have been ready to stay out past midnight. This time of year invites us to fall back a little, to turn inward and allow our bodies to rest, renew and hibernate. The end of daylight savings offers the perfect opportunity to tune in to what your body needs, be it more sleep, better nutrition, mindful movement or some combination of the three. With winter not too far off, hit the ground running with these tips, and conquer the dark, cold months ahead with positivity and health.
Rise early: This time of year, when the sun rises and sets early, is when we should be striving to soak up as much natural light as we can. When you wake, resist the urge to immediately look at your phone. Instead, throw back the blinds and allow the morning’s light to first wash over you. Trading the blue light of your phone first thing in the morning for natural light not only saves your eyes some strain, but the exposure to early a.m. rays allows your body to wake more naturally.
Move more: It’s easy to blame your dwindling motivation for exercise on the cold and dark days that turn us off from moving as much as we did in the warmer months. Plan to get your blood pumping for at least 30 minutes each day. It could be an early morning yoga session, a brisk walk at lunch or making the commitment to hit the gym after school or work. Exercise is an incredible mood booster, and moving your muscles will aid in a deeper, more healing sleep.
Eat what’s in season: There’s a reason we crave warming fruits and vegetables this time of year, it’s what is in season.
Strive to incorporate nourishing root vegetables like beets, rutabaga, pumpkins, turnips and colorful fruits like pears and apples into your diet. They provide key nutrients for warding off colds and the flu, and keeping to what’s available locally means you’ll be supporting local producers.
Even if it’s for five minutes during your lunch break, exposing yourself to midday sun allows your body to better produce melatonin, the sleep hormone, that night. Exposing your eyes to the sun’s rays during the day will allow your body to better receive the signals for sleep later in the evening. Mid-day sun is also a great mood booster and a great way to break out of that afternoon slump.
Strive to turn off devices and power down the TV at least an hour before you plan to wind down for the night. Create a nighttime routine to allow your body to ease into restfulness. Read, take a bath, work on an offline project or make a big cup of tea. Allow yourself the rest you need to make each day of the season the best one yet.