Is it just me but damn it’s so hard to carry out any task during the darker seasons? Me and these shorter days just don’t get on very well.
I hate (I know, hate is a strong word, but I seriously dislike it with a passion) waking up without the sun flooding my room with light – I find it so demotivating. Heading off to work in the dark and heading back home in the dark. I don’t get to see much daylight - 20 mins of daylight in a day is considered as a good day for me! Don’t get me wrong, I feel grateful for being able to get out of bed and all, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a struggle.
The lack of daylight leaves me feeling exhausted, which then makes me a bittt (others would disagree) cranky and sorta glum. And I know I’m not alone on this; there’s so many of us who go through these feelings.
During the past 4 years of travelling to and back from uni/work in the dark, I’d say I’ve become quite the expert on this topic. So I thought I'll share some of the little tips and tricks that I like to do during late autumn and winter to help me to feel less miserable and tired.
A GOOD SLEEP
A good night’s rest is key but keep it to a maximum of 8 hours. I can’t speak for everyone but I genuinely feel so much more refreshed on 6 to 7 hours sleep. Any more and I just become a lazy sloth who just about manages to get out of pj’s (if it’s necessary). I do enjoy a good lie in and long sleep here and there, but it always leaves me having a right rut of a day. So I do put in the extra effort to keep my sleep to a max of 6/7 hours during this time of year as those kinds of days just make my mood worse.
Also, use your phone during bedtime for the right reasons – use those bedtime options:
- Put a reminder on to let you know your due for bed (I give myself an hour notice, plenty of time to carry out my lil night time routine, browse the web and catch up on the gram before bed).
- Use the ‘do not disturb during bedtime’ function too – this lets you completely switch off. It also eases you onto your phone in the morning by not letting you see the notifications until you choose to switch off the do not disturb function. Personally, I find this so useful, as the last way I want to start my morning is to have a million and one notifications from all sorts of apps giving me that unnecessary stress lol.
I’m a firm believer of a good morning makes for a good day! So this part of the day is crucial for me. I don’t have one of those horribly loud annoying alarms as they just put me in a right foul mood. My go-to alarm tones are Early Riser, Sunny and Springtime (I’m an iPhone gal – sorry if you’re an Android gal). I like the softer kind of alarms as they make me feel as though I’m eased into the morning smoothly (what can I say, I'm basically an adult child).
I always start the day by carrying out tasks that require no brain power – drinking water, brushing my hair, and teeth as this helps me ease my brain into wake-up mode. I also make sure to give my skin some extra attention during this time of year. I’m usually a very basic gal but during the winter I definitely up my skincare game as it helps me feel as though my skin is awake (literally) - a lil trick that helps me feel a lot fresher and ready to conquer the day. Here is my very basic winter skin care morning routine which is working wonders for me!
During this time of year, I increase the uptake on hot drinks ‘cause tis the season for it! Depending on the type of hot drink and the time of it, my mind associates hot drinks with cosiness, chill but also hard work/productivity. All of which I absolutely love to do when it’s the right time as it either makes me feel hella productive, or just relaxes me after a full-on day. Combining winter/darker days with these positive associations make a huge difference for me as it helps my mind and attitude to be a lot more optimistic about the difficulties of shorter days.
SELF - LOVE
This wraps in with skin care routines, hot drinks and all things we do that give us happiness and enjoyment. Just giving some extra attention to yourself both physically and mentally. I like to have longer showers, let my mind get lost in an adventurous book or just enjoy watching a movie/ show. I am obsessing over The Apprentice and Dynasties atm – sorry to disappoint but I’m a saddo, and kinda not finding the time to commit to an actual series that requires brain power.
IRON AND VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS
For me taking iron tablets and vitamin D supplements work majorly! I purchase Ferrous Fumarate 210mg Tablets and Adcal D3 chewable tablets. I take both every 2/3 days - it’s no strict regime really, just when I’m feeling really tired and during that dreaded time of the month.
I would recommend seeing a doctor to get some blood tests done if your feeling excessively tired especially during this time of year. You’d be surprised how many people are iron and vitamin D deficient.
Whether it’s just having a long walk, or intense session. Any sort of movement always makes me feel a lot more energised. It also gives time for my mind to quite literally escape. Honestly, I occasionally run on the treadmill and the thoughts that go through my mind are insanely crazy – in a good way. I literally feel like I can rule the world, be an astronaut and speak to unicorns. It always puts me in the best of active, and productive moods – the exact moods I need to get rid of the shorter day crankiness.
CURTAINS / EYE MASK / SUNSHINE ALARM
This sounds slightly weird but bear with me on this one. Changing your curtains to something a little more sheer/ thinner (nope, I’m not suggesting the ones that quite literally let your neighbours in your home) but the kind of non-blackout curtains that are thick enough to not invade your privacy but thin enough to let any bit of light in. This helps in the morning as it allows for that little bit of light to brighten up your room.
Another lil trick which occasionally works (it depends on the kind of time you get up in the morning) is wearing an eye mask during the night. The difference of brightness when you take it off in the morning helps to feel that morning freshness.
I also came across the ‘sunshine alarm’ through a podcast and it definitely caught my attention. I imagine this to be amazing! As it’s a light that switches on and slowly gets brighter just in time for you to wake up – so basically, you're waking up to the sunniest of days but via light. They are slightly pricey, and I can’t recommend it as I don’t have one myself, but the idea sounds amazing and would love to give it a go soon (I’m just trying my hardest to save a bit of money - the adult life sucks).