It used to be that the end of the day marked the start of a beautiful sunset, or at least a few last hours of outside-time. Not anymore. Times (and the clocks) have changed and now the end of the day is marked by night. Dark, sun-less night.
This can have a lot of negative effects on you and your psyche, including causing some level of depression, and a simple lack of energy. But there are ways around this. Just because the sun goes to sleep earlier in the Fall and Winter, doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to combat the negative impact this early bedtime can have on us.
Want to combat the early darkness saddies (that’s what I’m calling them)? Bring some happies into your daily life.
FIND YOUR LOVED ONES
One of the best ways to combat the early darkness saddies is to fill your time with people you love. I know, it’s super awesome to get home from work and still have hours of unbridled sunlight at your fingertips, but in the absence of that, why not take advantage of the rest of the night by spending time with your family and friends?
Instead of going home, flipping on the light, clicking on the TV, and making a dinner for one, you can reinvigorate your day with colorful, lively conversations and camaraderie. Even if you want nothing more than to click on the TV, do it with friend. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel when your time is filled with friends by your side.
GET YOUR BODY MOVING
Because the night is upon us by the time many of us head home during the Winter, it’s increasingly difficult to find the time to get our bodies moving. But the movement of our bodies is vital, and not only for our physical well-being, but for our mental well-being, too.
A good way to combat the saddies is to take advantage of the sunlight at unconventional times. Go for a 10-minute walk in the middle of the day, flood your office with sunlight (if possible), or even wake up early and get your sun time in while everyone else is sleeping.
Not only will this give you some time alone with the sun, but assuming you don’t regularly take 10-minute walks during the day, this will also break up your monotonous routine, allowing your brain to stretch and recharge. Think about it like sitting at a desk for five straight hours, after a while you’re going to need to get up and stretch those legs.
And of course, the holy grail of getting your body moving, exercise. Exercising will produce and release serotonin in your brain, which is likely to help stabilize your mood and combat the saddies naturally. Plus, you know, check out those killer abs.
FIND AN OUTLET
Sometimes we just need to let it all out, even if we don’t feel like it. The doldrums of early darkness hit us with a wave of apathy so strong that we just want to sit and do nothing. Don’t do that (too often). Find something you take pleasure in and use it as your outlet. Maybe it’s sketching, cooking, writing, going to concerts, or even meditating. Find it, do it, and feel your body loosen as the saddies melt away. Nothing beats away the saddies like losing yourself in a passion project.
Another way to do this is to listen to music. Pop in some of your happiest tunes and jam those saddies away. Nostalgic music always works, as does up-beat instrumental music, but why not go all out and find a song by your favorite 90’s pop band and sing it at the top of your lungs?
If these don’t do the trick for you, lose yourself in positive thoughts. We all know how hard it can be to get out of a rut when all you do is think about things that have gone wrong: a break-up, a bad day at work, a failed project. Well, this works in the same way, only with a slight variation. Instead of digging yourself deeper by focusing on the negatives, lift yourself up by thinking about the positives.
Things may be physically darker, but there is light all around. Harness it and get through these months with a smile on your face.
Until next time – keep your head up.