(broad)ject self #22: Self-Care When...The Clocks Change

It was perhaps not my brightest idea to have a few more drinks than I usually have and stay out until 1am on the night that the clocks spring forward. I knew I was in trouble when I was lying in bed, reading Twitter, and the time went from 1:59am to 3:00am. I had not had so much Prosecco that I couldn’t logic out the potential pain points, fortunately, so I took my supplements, had a big glass of water, and set the alarm for 7.5 hours away. 10:30am, formerly 9:30am, came without too much difficulty and I was hungry enough that going back to sleep seemed silly.

I thought I had outsmarted Daylight Savings Time until 3:30pm rolled around and I. Was. Exhausted. So I set my alarm for 30 minutes away. Of course, I should have just set it for 90 minutes in the first place and been done with it, because I didn’t end up getting out of bed until 5pm. I had forgotten a crucial ingredient for theCucumber And Carrot Vermicelli With Crispy Shallots (the Vermicelli, naturally), so I took the opportunity to caffeinate from Starbucks and walk to the grocery store. When I got back, I felt revived. The fact that it wasn’t dark until almost 8pm was pretty delicious too.

But. I’ll probably have difficulty falling asleep tonight, when 10:30pm feels like 9:30pm. And I’ll definitely have trouble getting up in the morning when 6am feels like 5am. Springing forward is so much worse than falling back, except for the whole lighter later thing, which is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. One of my favourite bloggers Swistle has a great printable about the switch to DST which you can findhere. And my best tips for taking care of yourself while your body adapts are as follows:

-If falling asleep at your normal time is likely to be too hard, don’t even try it. There’s little worse, sleep-wise, than trying to fall asleep before you’re ready and just thrashing around. Do everything you can to make sure your sleep hygiene is up to snuff (check out Self-Care When…You’re Tired for more tips and tricks). For me, that’s slowly powering down over the course of the evening, doing someevening yoga, and listening to some relaxing tunes. Most importantly for me, I’m aiming for 6 hours of sleep tonight instead of 7.5 (still full sleep cycles, of course), because it will be easier for me to fall asleep at midnight (formerly 11pm) and wake up at 6am (formerly 5am) than it will be to fall asleep at 10:30pm (formerly 9:30pm). Then tomorrow night falling asleep my usual time should be cake.

-Unlike the fall, this is not the week to start a new morning exercise routine. We’ve got another eight weeks until the sun will start rising in Toronto at 6am, and as we get further on in the spring it will be a far saner (and warmer) time to start contemplating getting your heart rate up before work. Trying to institute a new regime when you’re potentially sleep deprived and your body rhythms are out of whack could be a real challenge and leave you feeling frustrated.

-You may be hungrier earlier than usual, especially early in the week. Don’t fight it. Pack snacks to get you through to meal times and drink water like it’s your job.

-After work is a whole other story. Suddenly we’ve got a whole extra hour of light, which is particularly useful if you’re an evening runner or walker. This is a perfect time of year to start a new habit like an after dinner walk, solo or otherwise, to review the day passed and contemplate the day ahead.

Spring starts a week today and it’s hard to resist the siren call of spring cleaning, doing your taxes, and patios. Take advantage of those urges when they hit because once it starts warming up in earnest, it gets tougher to want to buckle down to administrative tasks inside.

Have any other great ideas on how to survive the switch to Daylight Savings Time? You know where to find me.

Self-caringly yours,