Home » mindfulness

Tag: mindfulness

5 Tips To Survive Daylight Savings Time!

Tips to Survive Daylight Savings TimePhoto by Camila Damásio on Unsplash

5 Tips to Survive Daylight Savings Time!

This weekend, we set our clocks back an hour and gain that extra hour of sleep! However, it’s not always easy for some of us.

While this is generally considered the “easier” time change to deal with, it can still be difficult for many. It is nice to wake up in the morning a little later, but it also means we have to go to bed an hour later than we’re used to. For some, that can seriously screw up everyday habits like eating, exercising, and sleep rhythm.

I decided to talk about this today because, well, I have a hard time with both DST changes every year. To help myself get through it, I found a few tips and tricks for that first week or so. If you have children, this can be a very tough disruption for them. Many of these tips work well for them too!

Tip #1: Start adjusting early

Instead of waiting until Sunday to make the switch over, start getting ready TODAY! Making small changes over a few days can make life so much easier. You won’t have to deal with feeling a whole hour “off,” and it won’t take as long to get used to.

For the end of DST, start going to bed 15 minutes later each night to adjust to your new bedtime. If possible, also try to wake up 15 minutes later each morning. It’s also a good idea to start pushing back your dinner time a little later each day, too!

Tip #2: Keep your routines.

You probably already have a solid bedtime routine, right? Keep it up! Now is not the time to change your nighttime patterns – wait until you’re used to the new clock. Consistency is important to getting a good night’s sleep.

If you don’t already have a set routine, consider starting one about a week or two after DST ends. It will not only help you sleep better, but it can help combat some of the “winter blues” as the days get shorter.

Tip #3: Use exercise to your benefit.

If you find yourself struggling to stay awake a little later each night, consider adding light exercise in the evening to give you some extra energy. Instead of grabbing that extra cup of coffee or tea, do a light yoga flow or take a nice evening walk. Staying idle will only remind you of how tired you are, so get up and move around. Don’t do a full-on workout session, though – working out intensely too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep.

Tip #4: Consider a vitamin D supplement.

As the days get shorter and we cover up more from the cooler temperatures, our necessary daily amount of sunlight exposure drops. Since sunlight is one of the best ways for our bodies to produce vitamin D, many of us end up severely deficient this time of year. This can be especially bad in places like Seattle, where our sunlight exposure is crap already.

I found that taking a vitamin D supplement every day helps with the energy dips I get when it’s cloudy for days on end. Taking my vitamin D later in the day also helps give me a little energy boost in the afternoon, instead of using caffeine or sugary snacks.

Tip #5: You’ll get used to it – don’t worry!

We go through these changes every year, and every year we adjust to them eventually. Be kind to yourself and to others, and know that it’s normal to feel off balance. If you have children, keep reminding yourself that this is even harder for them. They may be too young to know what is going on, or they will feel a bit off-kilter this week too.

Even though we gain an hour of sleep on Saturday night, it’s not generally enough to completely change our lives. So stick to your routines, take things slow, and things will get back to normal soon! Let me know if you try some of my tips to survive Daylight Savings Time!

Being Alone vs Being Lonely

alone vs lonely

A popular topic online lately is the notion of being alone vs being lonely. It seems that even though we’re permanently connected to the world via technology, people still struggle with loneliness. We grapple with how to deal with both in a healthy manner, or if we even can at all.

In the blogosphere, I read several articles aimed at trying to answer this question. I recently read Darling Magazine’s “Loneliness vs. Being Alone: What You Need to Know” and found it a great starting point if you’re not sure where you fall. Also, I found articles devoted to embracing being alone, like Darling Magazine’s “5 Signs You Were Made for Solo Travel,” Travel on the Brain’s “How to Not Feel Awkward When Eating Alone,” and LifeHacker’s “What to Do If You Start Choking When You’re Alone” (a nod to Liz Lemon’s greatest fear of living solo). Even my “The Year of the Work” letter from Kayley this month focused on the idea of being okay with living solo.

This notion is also flooding into the wellness industry. There are articles, apps, and videos focusing on meditation, self-awareness, self-care, and mindfulness. People are opening up to the idea that being alone can be positive and healthy. Taking a break from technology is also more common as a way to re-connect with oneself.

In my own life, I find myself focusing on whether I’m lonely or just cool with solitude. I think with all the messages I’m seeing around, it’s hard to ignore.

Am I lonely, or just a loner?

As a child and teenager, I spent a lot of time alone riding my bike, listening to music, reading, and just staring at the sky. I was still a social kid, between school, sports, and hanging out with my sister – but being alone was cool too. When I started college, I did what many of us do – I got wrapped up in being busy. I spent all my time in classes, volunteering, working, and being with friends.

Then I graduated, started working 40+ hours a week, and got married. The notion of doing things alone (or for myself) faded away for a long time. After a few years of this, my mind and body started to fight back. I was unhappy and unhealthy. So I bought a bicycle, started hiking and biking alone, started a blog, and spent time in coffee shops grading papers. I loved it at first.

Unfortunately, even in these times I spent alone, I never embraced it. Grading papers is still an obligation to someone else, which wasn’t a healthy use of my alone time. I hiked or biked when I was “allowed” to, and bargained with myself whether I had the time before being home to cook dinner, teach a class, or spend time with my husband. I would rush through hikes, race home on the bike, or give up entirely and just go home.

It took moving here for me to embrace being alone. I started hiking longer and going to coffee shops to work on the blog. Sometimes, I wander around the library, thrift shop, and have the cleanest house I’ve ever had. I read more, sleep more, and started meditating. Also, I use a Bullet Journal to stay on track, so I spend time doing things I want instead of getting distracted by dirty laundry or dishes.

But does doing these things make me less lonely?

I want to believe I’m not a lonely person, just cool with being alone. I am also really hoping that these small life changes I’m making will help in the long run, by establishing good habits I can carry with me through both lonely and not lonely times.