By Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, Contributor, US Daily Review.
If losing an hour of daylight makes you want to lose your mind, you are not alone. As we prepare to turn back the clock, many of us will find our moods dipping. While a small percentage of us will plunge into a clinical condition known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” the majority of us will suffer a mild case of winter doldrums as the days become darker and shorter.
One hour of extra sleep hardly seems like enough consolation for less daylight. However, with a little effort, you can stave off the seasonal slump. Try these simple tips to start relishing the change.
- Light candles in your home as the dark descends at 4pm. Candles are beautiful, aromatic, and inexpensive. They create an ambiance of mystery, elegance, romance, and celebration. Place them safely all around your home. For an added bonus of relaxation, stop and spend a few moments gazing into a flame. Let yourself observe the light, color, and movement – and when you blow the candle out, watch the dancing curl of smoke.
- Make a list of things that you love that are unique to this seasonal change: hot tea by a fire, apple cider, pumpkins, homemade soup, wool sweaters, snow camping, ice fishing, skiing, holidays, etc. Also make a list of summer annoyances that you don’t have to deal with at the moment: mosquitoes, weeds, sunburn, lawn mowing, etc. Remind yourself of the pleasures of the fall and upcoming winter.
- Slow your pace to nature’s cycle and go to bed earlier. Most people find that they get tired more easily as their bodies’ rhythms react to the darkness. Take your cue from nature, settle in, and allow yourself a little more hibernation than usual.
- Recent research indicates that healthy bodies can need as much as 2,000 – 4,000 units of vitamin D per day. Depending on your age, health, diet, and sun exposure, you may need a vitamin D supplement to stay healthy during the darker days. Check with your doctor to have your vitamin D levels evaluated.
- During daylight hours, get your body outside. Find time each day to breathe in the fresh air and get your body moving. While for some this will be a challenge, getting outside and into the light, even on bitterly cold days, will lift your mood and boost your energy.
Use these five tips to cushion your backwards fall this year. If nothing else, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’. In approximately four months, daylight savings time will resume. It will be here before you know it!
Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW is a psychotherapist in southern New Hampshire and a self-help author. Her most recent book is Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity. You can learn more about her atwww.ashleydavisbush.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook