By Gabriella Hayes, Associate Editor
When warm summer nights become cold, and when it begins getting dark outside at 8 p.m., our brains get a little confused. We’re used to poolside popsicles and sunkissed skin, not bitter mornings and long nights. This change is what makes the stillness of fall so chilling. One of the most difficult parts of entering winter is daylight saving time.
We change the clocks twice a year, known as “springing forward” or “falling back,” but why do our clocks need changing in the first place? Well, originally, the United States began changing the clocks during World War I in order to take advantage of longer daylight hours and save energy for combat.
After the war, daylight saving was optional; this meant that individual states and cities decided what time to be on. You can probably imagine the chaos that ensued. So, in order to minimize said chaos, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which standardized the length of daylight saving time for the country.
Although daylight saving offers longer days in the summer, it causes the sun to set mighty early in the winter. Although this helped soldiers in physical combat, it can now lead to mental wars for some folks. It can make you feel scatterbrained, cause you to sleep more than usual and even trigger depression.
Although daylight saving time in the winter offers people an extra hour of sleep, making mornings longer, it also means people will often leave their places of work in the dark. This causes people to feel like their day is finished before they get home, leaving a sense of unfulfillment and emptiness.
This sounds daunting, but there are things to do that can improve your mood in the thick of winter! Spending time outside in the sunlight is crucial to staying positive when days seem to get shorter. Connecting with nature and feeling the sun on your skin, even if it’s freezing outside, will be a refresher from the seemingly perpetual chains of a cubicle or laptop.
Quality sleep is another important step to staying mentally healthy during the time change. Our bodies need sleep to function properly at any time of year, but especially when days become shorter. In an attempt to stay sane throughout the day, try practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness makes us focus on the experience of living, which often leads to higher levels of appreciation and positivity.