I think I can safely say that this is the first year in, perhaps my entire life, that I’ve looked forward to, and then celebrated, setting my clocks an hour ahead. This is most likely due to the fact that, in North Carolina anyway, the average temperature for the past eight weeks has been around 61 degrees. In anticipation of high nineties, mosquitoes, and likely a drought, come July, I have been trying to make the most of our outdoor time while it is ripe.
Unfortunately, I am not currently a morning person.
Combine the weather with a few other timely circumstances and what I’ve discovered is the 5-step recipe to preparation for, and a quick recovery from Springing Forward. I will share the following, which is probably advice I should have shared a few months ago. Always next year…
- Spend the entire winter sleeping until at least ten minutes after your children are awake. No matter what schedule my children are on, the encroaching longer days means there are at least two weeks where the sun is up an entire hour earlier than normal. Despite the white noise machines and black out shades, somehow both of their little pre-pubescent bodies are acutely solar-equipped. After a glorious winter of nightly hibernating until at least 8 o’clock every morning, I have been cursed by the sun to sudden and unrelenting 6:45am wake-up calls. On the day where 6:45 magically becomes 7:45, I actually tricked myself into believing the children were sleeping in again.
- Contract a stomach virus within 48 hours of the global sixty minute shift. Sleep all day, except for three twenty minute breaks to shuffle around the house looking for some couch or bed that has not yet been sweated out or drooled in. Do not eat anything for at least 24 hours. It will not matter what time those first few rays of headache free sunlight start to pour in. Operate according to hunger and thirst, rather than the clock.
- Take up a new outdoor activity with people you actually enjoy, who also have full-time jobs. After spending a couple weeks or months communicating only with children (or co-workers who act like children) make plans for a new social hobby that includes cool people and time spent outside. When the only time of day for getting together to ride bikes or go for a run is after 5pm, that extra hour of daylight suddenly feels like a gift. (I guess if you weren’t the active type, you could substitute a drinking club on a rooftop bar for this one. As long as the activity must take place outside and is comprised of cool people only, it doesn’t really matter what it is.)
- Make a commitment to something early on the Sunday morning after the switch, but be sure to schedule it early enough that you don’t realize which Sunday you committed to until it is too late. Perhaps this is serving soup downtown, or walking in an early morning 5K. Maybe this is coffee duty at church. Again, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it is something you can’t wriggle out of at 10pm the Saturday before.
- Re-embrace the mid-day nap. This is one I obviously didn’t need to implement in my day, and let me tell you, the habit has come in nicely for overcoming the 2pm Spring Forward slump. No guilt here for spending my Selection Sunday passed out on the couch while birds chirped in the 65 degree Eden that was my backyard. Why? Because, I take a nap at least three days a week. It is something I have unconsciously blocked out time for in my life so that my mind can also rest while my body does. It turns out, guilt and anxiety are two of the most common factors affecting poor sleep, so the sooner you can train yourself to let go of one or both, the sooner you can start feeling better about listening to your body, something Oprah and your hot yoga instructor have been preaching for years.