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How to Stay Motivated When It Gets Dark Early

Here are ways to make daylight saving time a little less painful.

family walking, how to stay motivated when it gets dark early


It’s that time of the year again! Daylight saving time—which is the practice of moving the clock back one hour every fall. You’d think one hour wouldn’t make much of a difference, but a one-hour shift can really throw off your afternoon and evening, especially when it’s dark by 6:00 p.m. And when you combine early-evening darkness with the cold temperatures of winter, it can be extra hard to stay motivated. Here are a few tips and tricks to make this time of the year easier:


Care for your mental health

Daylight saving time has been proven to negatively impact one’s quality of sleep and mental state. In fact, studies show that it can increase your chances of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that includes all the symptoms of depression, but symptoms typically last only until spring. But regardless if you experience SAD or not, it’s important that you practice self-care when it’s getting dark earlier. Here are a few things to try:
• Use an artificial sunlight lamp to maintain healthy circadian rhythms and vitamin D levels
• Spend time outdoors, even if it’s a short walk in the cold during your lunch break.
• Trying aromatherapy to lift your mood
• Stick to an adequate sleeping schedule
• Keep a gratitude journal
• Indulge in your favorite hobbies or activities


Exercise, exercise, exercise

Exercise is so important to keeping your mental and physical state and happy and healthy. Use an elliptical or treadmill, sign up for a fitness class, or go to the gym after work. For some extra motivation, pack a gym bag ahead of time or lay out gym clothes before bedtime at night.



Shake things up

Winter might be a good time to shake up your normal routine. Instead of binge-watching your favorite shows, do something different for a change:
• Organize that junk room you’ve been neglecting for months (or years)
• Read a book you wouldn’t normally read
• Pick up an easy side job for some extra cash
• Catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while
• Try a new recipe
When you spend your time doing something meaningful, your overall well-being may improve.


Make goals each week

Goals don’t have to be life-changing or out of the ordinary. Making simple goals of what you want to accomplish each week is a great way to stay motivated. They can be small goals like performing an act of kindness for someone each day, getting up fifteen minutes earlier, or working on a project you’ve been setting aside. Pursuing goals is a great way to find a purpose each day.



Be mindful

An attitude of acceptance can make a huge difference in your life. Live in the moment. Enjoy this season for what it is and try to embrace it. You just might discover certain things you love about this time of year.
How do you stay active in the winter? Tell us on Facebook—we’d love to hear from you. And while you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living.


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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Chakell Wardleigh
Chakell has a B.A. in English and is a magazine editor. She enjoys exercising, laughing with family and friends, and online shopping. She strives to be as versatile as cauliflower, which she often turns into pizza.