It’s funny. I was born in June, which means I was born when the clocks had already shifted forward, and therefore should be more accustomed to the Daylight Savings Time. I mean, if you believe in that kind of stuff. But there’s just something about turning the clocks back an hour that feels so right to me. So suffice it to say, I’m not looking forward to this year’s Spring Forward. Especially after the year 2020 has already thrown at us. Until the government figures out if Toronto, Montreal and New York will all agree to select a time and keep it there, I’ve come up with a few helpful tips to share so that you can avoid that first week of absolute confusion and not miss out on 1 (or more) hours of sleep.
1. Go to sleep 15-30 mins early 4-7 days before the time change
While this may not completely reset your natural sleep cycle to adjust for the hour you’re losing, it will at least help lessen the blow by giving yourself some time back throughout the week. Adjusting by 30 mins is more gentle than a full hour. You could even start waking up 15-30 mins early so that you’re balancing out the time shift.
I don’t know about you, but that first workday morning after the time springs forward is always the hardest. It may be especially difficult now that you’re working from home and rolling out of bed with not a lot of time to spare before logging in. Do yourself a favour and give your body the extra zzz that it will need. I know I definitely will be giving this tip a shot.
2. Get outside earlier in the day
…Or, if you’ve been cooped up in your home, get out even a little. Soaking in that vitamin D from the sun will not only improve your mood, but it will help with your circadian rhythm. The earlier you can get outside, whether for a morning or mid-morning walk – the better!
This one is a hard one for me. I typically have the evening shift with the doggos, so I tend to only get outside around 5pm. In the winter it definitely sucked (unless it was snowy and beautiful and glistening, then it was magical ❄️).
3. Move your body in the AM
Although we will technically be getting more sunlight in the evening, it’s still a good idea to get your movement in during the morning hours. It’s all about setting the tone for the day, and awakening your body to adjust to the new time zone (since that’s really what it is!). Not ready for a full on HIIT workout? I don’t blame you. Start with some low impact yoga, stretching or even a 20 mins cycle if you have an exercise bike. Once you feel like you’ve adjusted to the new time, then kick it up a notch or two. Bonus points for moving your body even during a pandemic. High five to you! 🙌
Movement is one of those things that I’ve really struggled with during the pandemic (and before that if I’m being honest). We recently purchased an exercise bike and downloaded the Peloton app on our phones and I can honestly say that it’s gotten me back into some sort of physical routine. My goal is to get at least 30 mins of movement in a day (on top of the 45min to an hour walk I have with the dogs).
4. Take regular scheduled breaks throughout the day
I think back to elementary school and having recess. What I wouldn’t give now to have those mandatory minutes of movement and fresh air. And I thought – well, why not?! I am guilty of not stepping away from my computer (even when I’m not being that productive…). I feel like there’s a weight censored notification button under my seat and if I leave my desk, my boss will know and fire me immediately. Okay…well not that dramatic…but you know what I mean.
While we’re acclimatizing to a whole new work schedule, give yourself some grace and take those 15 mins to step away from your computer, grab a coffee, go for a quick water break, get outside – or just get out of the area where you work. This is going to be a big area of focus for me. I’m even going to put a lunch break into my calendar so that I won’t be scheduled for meetings to give myself a true rest and recovery period during the day. I highly recommend you do too.
5. Have a morning routine you’re excited to wake up to
We’ve checked off movement and sunshine for our morning to-do’s and although those are great, they may not be the thing that gets your butt out of bed in the morning. Find out what that is and incorporate it into your morning routine.
I’ve been experimenting with different routines and trying to find one that sticks. Something that always gets me out of bed is… coffee. Yup. My husband is the earliest of early birds and brews coffee when he wakes up, and that smell definitely gets me out of bed. I try to sit down with my coffee (water first, obvs) and journal or read something inspiring on one of my favourite blogs or even watching one of my favourite YouTubers for a quick 5 min video. That piece of my morning makes me happy and it’s something that energizes my day.
Find what works for you – and yes, it may take a few tries to figure it out, but that can also be exciting!
I wish you all of the rest and ease heading into this spring forward period. I know it can be a challenging transition for some or a love/hate relationship for others. Whether you’re team #SpringForward or #FallBack (I’m camp Fall Back, that’s for sure!), I hope that you find these tips helpful.