How Does Daylight Savings Impact Your Mental Health?
While some of us get excited in November for the upcoming holiday season, some of us feel the negative impact of having less sun exposure. This Sunday, we will be turning our clocks back one hour to gain more sunlight; however, sunrise is still later, and sunset is still earlier. For many people, this means going to work before seeing the sun and leaving the workplace when it’s already dark. Some may actually go multiple days in a row without stepping outside into the sunlight.
While we’ve observed Daylight Savings for over 100 years in the U.S., that extra hour of darkness has proven to affect mental health. Studies indicate that depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts seem to rise over time change.
Although Daylight Saving Time doesn’t cause mental health problems, it can worsen them. As we get less sunlight, our serotonin and melatonin levels drop, which can lead to feelings of apathy and depression.
Improved Daily Routine for Mental Health
Luckily, there is a secret to battling the negative emotions and feelings that comes with Daylight Savings: an elevated morning routine! Morning routines can vary depending on individual needs. What works for one person may be burdensome for another. Explore our tips on how to build better habits for your morning and start to enhance your well-being right now. Remember, consistency is key!
6 Tips For A Better Morning Routine
- Prepare: This may seem easier said than done, but a bedtime routine can set you up for a successful morning. Try preparing what you’ll need, such as coffee, meals, or an outfit, the night before. Making sure your keys, bag, and other essentials are near the door, especially if you must leave home first thing in the morning, can also help reduce stress and chaos.
- Let Light In: To clear away morning grogginess, try turning on a lamp or your bedroom lights if you don’t have access to some sunlight, within the first 5 to 10 minutes of waking up in the morning. For those who routinely wake up before the sun has risen, blue light has been proven to help people feel awake in the morning. Using the right kind of light first thing in the morning could help decrease morning drowsiness and increase alertness more quickly.
- Make Your Bed: Some experts argue that making one’s bed first in the morning is an effective way to boost self-esteem. By completing a task first, you’ve boosted your confidence in your ability to set things in order and may be more likely to continue that trend throughout the day.
- Hydrate: Did you know hydrating your body first thing in the morning can help increase cognitive function? Drinking water or having a cup of VitaCup’s Hydration Coffee packed with electrolytes, is an excellent way to hand yourself the energy to deal with the symptoms of many mental health issues.
- Nourishing Breakfast: Eating something within an hour or so of rising raises your blood sugar level and prevents crankiness. You can help boost the benefits of eating breakfast by incorporating protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Nuts, yogurt, and eggs have been shown to support mental health in those who experience anxiety, for example.
- Gratitude: Research shows that gratitude can increase an individual’s happiness, improve relationships, and enhance one’s sense of well-being. While you’re drinking your morning brew, take this time to write down three things you’re grateful for, and keep them present during your day!
Whether you have five spare minutes or multiple hours each morning, a routine can help individuals set themselves up for better mental health throughout the winter months. Choose morning activities that allow you to work with rather than against yourself.
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