How to Get More Done With Less Daylight

I’m one of those people whose mood can be dictated by the weather.

I know this from growing up in a city of extremes [either no sunlight in a day to full days of sun] and experiencing long stretches of in-betweens that have wreaked havoc on my inner state. Calgary is one of the sunniest Canadian cities, but even so, we see quite a few overcast days and the sun setting on us at a whopping 4:36pm during these recent months.

Last year I wrote this post, giving some tidbits on how to handle changing seasons. While I fully back those ideas, I want to provide a few more on how to handle the lack of daylight so you can get more things done.

Decide what needs daylight and what doesn’t.

I have a variety of responsibilites throughout my week that require different amounts of daylight. If I need to take photos for my blog I know I need natural light, and often this can only come mid-day. This means that planning and taking my photos will need to be pushed to the weekends as I unfortunately miss it while I’m at work during the week.

However, other responsibilites like writing, cooking, and cleaning don’t necessarily rely on natural light and I can designate those tasks to be done during the hours that the sun has set on me. Knowing I’m taking full advantage of the sun lets me relax a little (planning has a way of relieving stress, have you noticed?) and I’m still able to get everything accomplished.

Rely on a LED lamp in the morning

I’ve been using an artificial vitamin D lamp since my high school days and I’ve finally come to realize that the best effects it has on my body comes from using it in the morning. Instead of moving through my apartment in complete darkness to make breakfast, I turn on my lamp and let that guide my morning.

The extra surge of vitamin D in the morning helps tell my body that it’s time to wake up, even though outside is clearly telling me to go back to bed…

Try exercising in the morning

While crawling out of bed in the wee hours of the morning can feel almost impossible with the overcoming darkness, a morning workout can give you the extra energy boost you’re looking for. If you need the accountability, try meeting a friend for an early morning yoga or spin class and feel free to treat yourself to a coffee afterward as a well-deserved reward.

However, the biggest reward is [hopefully] that once you’ve returned outside from your workout you’re able to see the sun rising. Enjoy the endorphins that carry you throughout the rest of your day, and know you don’t have to drag yourself to workout during the precious sunlight hours of the day.

Don’t let coffee dictate your energy level

Coffee can feel like a crutch when we drink it solely to be caffeinated. If you feel like you need a coffee in the morning to be alive, consider how you’re treating your body in other realms to understand why you’re so fatigued.

Are you staying up later than you should be? Are you forgetting to drink water throughout the day, and instead sticking to diuretics like coffee and alcohol? Have you exercised lately? Have you taken a breath and assessed your stress levels?

While all of these tips may seem a little far out of reach, try implementing them in small steps and see what works best for you. And, before you know it, we’ll be back to those long beautiful sunny summer days.


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