There just isn’t enough time in the day

How to stretch your days in the dark

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Sunset from Morgans Point, ON, Canada over Lake Erie

Can I just say I hate how it’s so dark after dinner now. I went to watch a sunset with my dad the other night at 6:23pm. Gone are the days of daylight until 9pm. It makes the nights feel so short and it gives new meaning to the saying “there isn’t enough time in the day”. The truth is there is time, but it doesn’t feel like it when it’s pitch black outside. Lately I’ve noticed I’m ready to go for a walk after dinner but it’s already dark outside. I get that sinking feeling that I didn’t get to do anything all day because I work indoors.

When it gets dark, the body naturally produces more melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. Our circadian rhythm gets confused and you just want to curl up on the nearest couch and watch TV. When the next time change happens the sun will set even earlier and many of us will be driving home in the dark. Naturally when we see daylight fade, the urge to shut down for the night becomes real.

So just how do we fight that urge and still have some quality time after dinner? There are two ways you can go. Succumb to that nice comfy couch with pillows and blankets occasionally (there is nothing wrong with putting your feet up after a long day of hard work). Or, do what the Danish do and EMBRACE the night time. The Danes have cold and darkness from about October to March, yet they manage to do cozy (hygge) like no other country. They are also regularly voted one of the happiest countries in the world. I am determined to stretch my days because there is nothing worse than feeling like all you do is work, eat and clean. As a result, here are some ideas:

1. Go for that walk anyway. The fresh air will do you good and help you sleep. Bring a flashlight.

2. Do household chores like cleaning, grocery shopping, dishes, errands and laundry through the week so you can relax and enjoy the weekend daylight hours.

3. Plan to meet friends one or two nights of the week.

4. Light the candles and turn on your favorite lamps and music.

5. Start getting to those projects inside that you didn’t want to do in the summer.

6. Purge and organize. Remember less is more.

7. Give yourself something to look forward to. Plan a get together or start planning a trip or your Christmas shopping list. Giving the mind a new focus will help pass the dark months.

8. Find a new interest or hobby during the cooler months.

9. Get to the gym. If you have a membership and didn’t take advantage through the summer months, here’s your chance. Try yoga or a stretch class or something good for the body.

10. Try some new vegetarian options. Expanding your cooking horizons can help give you more energy.

The idea is to set a goal for each night or each week so you feel like you are accomplishing something after work. You still want to get to bed at a decent hour because it will likely be dark when you rise in the morning. But practicing some of the above can help you conquer the feeling that the days are getting shorter. 

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