Happier Jump-Starts: Adjusting To The Time Change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid you remember to “fall back” last night? Do you even live somewhere that does that? Daylight Saving Time was a revelation when it was first introduced, but has met growing opposition in recent years. (Why do we think it’s a good idea to pretend time has shifted by an hour, twice a year?) Regardless of what you think of it, if you did the shift this weekend—especially if you have little kids—you may not be feeling as happy as you wish. So, a few simple suggestions:

Make the clock changes a scavenger hunt. If you’re like me, you dutifully changed your bedside clock and the one on the oven right away. But oh, that clock in the family room, hmmm, we need a ladder for that. And probably the clock in my car won’t be changed for weeks. And hey, did you even know there was a clock on the microwave? Avoid confusion by changing them all right away; avoid five minutes of boredom by making it into a game for the kids (and even offering a bounty, if you’re generous like that)—how many clocks can they find?

Do something fun, today. It’s weird how a single hour time shift can make us feel not-our-best, but it happens. If you can, plan a small indulgence for today, to counteract the “I woke up too early and now I’m falling asleep in my dinner” blues. Speaking of…

… eat all day. What? Don’t come after me with your kitchen scales, nutritionists! I don’t mean binge all day or single-handedly polish off the remaining Halloween candy, I mean that if you tend to have a regimented meal schedule, ease your body into the change by grazing today, instead. (And yes, if you want to feel your best, graze on fruits and veggies and high-protein options rather than chips and cookies.) Have brunch instead of both breakfast and lunch, and nibbling throughout the afternoon will help you to push dinner later, to the new time.

Take a long walk midday. Dress for the weather, of course, but your brain is going to take a little hit when it gets dark an hour earlier than you’re used to, so give it a nice dose of sunshine and vitamin D before that happens.

Make it an evening of “yes.” You know how the kids always want one more hug, one more drink of water, one more story, one more song? (That’s if they’re little; my teens want one more video game, one more bowl of ice cream, but it’s all essentially the same.) Tonight everyone will be tired (and maybe cranky) earlier than usual, by the clock, so pour on the lovingkindness and indulge those whims you normally try to curtail—it’ll keep them up a little later, and buy you a few extra minutes to snooze in the morning. Bonus: The kids will think you’re awesome.

Good luck, and here’s to a good night’s sleep tonight for everyone!

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