We fell back an hour around Halloween. I dreaded it. I really dislike DST. Especially when we fall back. One year I had SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. I came into possession of a natural light lamp so when I got up in the morning I would hurry down to my office and stare at it—attempting to raise my mood. Uh huh. Then I realized my Vitamin D was extremely low. Once I got that up I could turn the lamp off. (note to self if your Vit D is low) Seriously, 4:26 for sunset in NY is way too early. Depressing.
My colleague picked me up in Hawthorne NY this week so we could drive to our meeting location for the next day. She came at 4:30. It was already dark and we had two hours to drive. It felt like 9:00 by the time we got to our hotel. Atlanta is one of the least affected cities. The sun goes down at 5:30 but you see light until 5:50. Whew. Thank Goodness the shortest day of the year is upon us come Dec. 21. What is the point of Daylight savings time anyway?
DST was created to decrease energy costs. Period. It’s always been a bust as far as energy savings goes as least statistically. It was started in wartime by FDR but not everyone practiced it. Then after the 1973 Oil embargo it was eight months long and later 10 months. Gov’t said we saved 10,000 barrels of oil. Translated we used less energy because we adjusted our times of light. President George Bush signed the Energy Conservation Act of 2005. Implemented in 2007 it extended DST by four weeks.
We are okay when we spring ahead because come on, it’s light until almost 9:00. It’s when we fall back that the issues begin. The dark creeps into our brain.
“Actually, less than 10% of people suffer from SAD. It ranges from 9.7 percent in New Hampshire to 1.4% in Florida. The more south and west you go in your time zone the longer it stays light. However, 10-20% of us may experience some kind of mild form of winter depression.” Makes sense.
I can pretty much say with confidence the people I talk to do not like it when its dark early. People drink more alcohol, eat more and tend to suffer some degree of unrest and angst.
So here is what I do trying a holistic approach to this issue of DST. I say holistic because I need to feel like I am taking care of my body to maintain a level mood versus engage in self-destructive behavior.
-Drink a lot of water. The second you get up, relieve the thirst of the night. 8 ounces of water minimum. Gas and electric furnaces can cause dehydration -the benefit of water is more than we realize.
-Early riser. I am up between 5:30 -6 during our darkest hours. I like the peace and quiet of the morning. Steaming coffee in the dark is a pleasant experience. I go to bed early as well—the night seems very long if I stay up late.
-Kundalini spinal series set. In the morning. A basic five minute set. This get the blood flowing and opens up the spine and neck.
-Exercise. Get walking or your exercise of choice. I walk. I like the air, outside air is good for me to be in the sun getting some natural vitamin D. I practice Pilates. Becoming stronger makes me feel more steady. Do whatever it is you like to do.
-Eat right. Do not stuff your face with fried foods and junk because it’s comfort food and makes you feel better. In fact it will make you feel worse. Green shakes in the morning, more green than fruit because of the sugar. Gluten free when you can, organic when you can—think about what your body needs to function.
My friend Melissa introduced me to “bone broth” which is extremely good for you. She made me some chicken bone broth and it was good. It is more gel like than normal broth. It is nutritious. Beef bone broth is the best. Go to Whole foods in the freezer section by the meat counter they sell organic beef bones. Throw these into a slow cooker, with a sliced onion, a spritz of vinegar and seven cups of water and 10 hours later you will have the best broth ever. By cooking it slowly it you get the benefit of the marrow which is super healthy. Strain the broth and freeze it for your future use. So, when you start feeling blue heat up a cup of bone broth, add a little water sip it in the afternoon or evening it is very comforting. Beef Bone broth is delicious. You will be drinking a super food.
-Take your vitamins. Vitamin D is very important as we all know. When its low you literally can feel sad or depressed. Make sure your levels are up. Take care of your body in this way.
-Reduce alcohol consumption. Hard to do, I know. When its dark at 5:30 that bourbon bottle really looks warm. I never noticed how nice the label on it is…not. But really, if you are sad you will be whether you are drinking or not.
-Organize your house. Basement, closets, drawers—whatever needs attention it’s a great time to do it. Put some music on and get busy.
-Do something for someone else. Volunteer somewhere. Go to the food bank, a retirement home, visit the sick, work at a shelter, do something that is not about you. You will be amazed at how helpful it is.
-Study something. Find something you are interested in and study it. Maybe a language, Quantum Physics, religion-read about it, learn about it, become a more interesting person.
-Find a hobby. Find something creative to do. Use your right brain. Woodworking, pottery spinning, yoga, painting, writing, reading books you have always wanted to read.
-Stay grounded. Sleep on a grounding sheet. People laugh at me but grounding is an effective and proven thing. If you don’t want grounding products do grounding exercises via yogi or meditation. Make sure your root chakra is grounded. I travel with a half grounding sheet and use it in every hotel I stay in.
-Consider essential oils. Essential oils are proven to be healing and mood altering. I have lavender diffusing on most days. Grapefruit oil in the mornings for clarity and I always have peppermint oil in my purse. Breath freshener but more so for illness prevention. Being around other people coughing, sneezing etc. pop a dot of peppermint oil to prevent illness.
These are some of the things I try to practice. I try to look at the darkness as a gift to me. A gift to practice some of the above suggestions. It may be dark outside, but some of these things will help ignite your life a bit and bring in some goodness.
Don’t fear- December 21 is almost here. Then the days get longer.
“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, The Astonishing Light of your own Being!”
Until Next time.