Yesterday evening, while I was at a friend’s home for Bible Study, I could not help but to look out the window starting at 4:00 and begin to see the sun waning in the sky. By 4:30, it was dark. Yes, we are now at the end of Daylight Saving Time mode and I absolutely hate it!
For the next 4-5 months, I will be under a cloud of depressed, repressed living. Most of us here in the northern states actually start cocooning in the early evening. I know my pattern; pajamas on as soon as it is dark, comfort foods in the crock pot to lift my spirits, cookies baking in the oven, because… why not? And every single year, I seem to add on the pounds in these months of encroaching darkness. Going to the gym turns into a challenge for the simple reason that I just don’t want to leave the house. I miss my evenings on the patio. Forget going anywhere after dark, unless it is really necessary.
For the record, I HATE WHEN DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS…pure and simple!
So knowing these things, as a senior who has nothing but time on her hands, I have asked myself “What can I do to head off the same old response to this time of the year?” “How can I make this year different?” Here are some suggestions that might work for me. If you find some helpful, that is great. If you think of others, please add them in my comment section. I am always open to new ideas.
- Stay in bed that extra hour….as a senior, I am an eternal early riser. Yet, to retrain my body, I am going to make myself stay in bed in the morning and hopefully this will help me fight the desire to be in bed an hour earlier in the evening. Have to adjust the body.
- Make exercise a priority. During these cocooning months, I will be diligent to make sure I minimally get the 30-60 minute cardio workout in at least 3 times a week, if not more often. This is an intentional goal and is usually the first one that goes. So maybe by setting a reward when I reach my goal, might be a motivator. And I am thinking along the lines of rewarding myself with a non-food goal. So often, we make food our reward and there are so many more ways to reinforce our goals. To initiate this, I will create a reward list of 10 items to choose from, which might help.
- Create a project list. These could be things you feel you can do around the house to chip away at those things you been meaning to do. The list could include, cleaning out a junk drawer, cleaning out a closet, rearrange furniture in one room, as sort of a mini-update, etc. One of the best things to motivate us is when we see positive changes.
- Invite friends over for a game night. Schedule fun! Don’t put on those pajamas, every single day when the sun goes down (at 4:30). LOL! Have a girlfriend night, where you just hang out and have fun.
- Resist the urge to bake!!! For me, when I cocoon, I want food and munchies. And if you just have to do it, forego the cookies. Check out Pinterest online. You will find hundreds of alternatives to cookies and you can even focus on healthy baking. But be forewarned, Pinterest can be addicting. I have been known to start looking for something and 3 hours later and going down many different avenues, I return to what I originally was looking for.
- When it starts getting dark at 4:30, try not to sit down. Find something to do to keep you moving a bit more. If the sun was out, you know you would be moving. So maybe between 4:00-7:00 pm, be intentional in completing some type of task. If you created the project list, this might be a good time to work on it, instead of earlier in the day.
Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome, that some of us tend to get. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression. It is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter But you can do things to help fight it. Change out some of your lights in the house. Get out in the sunshine during the day, or just throw open those window curtains and let the sunshine in. Our bodies need the vitamin D. And regarding vitamin D, talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.
Our mental spirits cannot help but to flourish with ample sunlight. Keep the body energized! Keep the heart rate up! Keep those pounds off! After all, this early darkness will be over in 4-5 months! You can do it!