Autumn can be a magical time of year, but unfortunately, it's also the time of year when the days get shorter, we lose an extra hour of daylight (thanks to turning our clocks back in most of the U.S.), and I nod off while walking down the street at 4 in the afternoon. True story…
Last fall was rough on me: I could not seem to stay awake to save my life. It did give me a chance to text my dad and brother lots of Airplane! quotes ("Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines"), but other than that, I hated it. I even stopped doing yoga at home because after about 2 minutes, I'd just lie down on my mat. As soon as the sun even hinted at setting, I was, as my mom would say, falling asleep in my soup. So this year I have a plan, and I'm going to try to stay awake long enough to put it into place. Here are my Surviving Shorter Days When Hibernating Simply Isn't An Option strategies:
Vitamin D Through some sunshiney magic, Vitamin D seeps into our skin and makes our bones stronger, while some sources believe that deficiencies can cause fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, and more. With less sun comes less D, especially for those of us on vegan diets (there are no vegan sources of Vitamin D other than the sun and supplements). Fall is the perfect time to make sure you're getting enough (consult your doctor, of course), and a stroll in the sun can be taken "for medical reasons". Win-win.
Get All Your Levels Checked I'm hoping that last year's sleepiness was related to the fact that, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was iron, Vitamin D, and B-12 deficient. Since going to the doctor and having all my levels checked (everything else was right on track), I've been taking my vitamins like a champ, eating even healthier, and making it a priority to get sun every day. If you are suffering from undiagnosed health issues, fall and winter will be even more of a struggle. I want you to feel great.
Early To Bed, Early To Rise When we turn out clocks back, we don't actually lose an hour of daylight, of course — we just lose it on the fun end of the day. It can be found at a painfully early hour, so getting the most sunlight possible means waking early. Painful, yes, but oh so worth it.
Early-Morning Workouts Not only do early-morning workouts maximize your daylight hours (see above), they can leave you energized for the rest of the day. Saving workouts for the evening can often lead to "Can't run. Sleeping…", and where does that get us? Plus pools, gyms, and city streets are often blissfully unoccupied at 6am.
Dance Music Good, bad, awesomely bad — it all works, because you can't fall asleep if you're jumping up and down. Poll your friends who do a lot of cardio: chances are they have iPods full of bouncy dirty-little-secret songs that will keep you pumped. Or does Forever 21 sell soundtracks?
Blaze Every Bulb I am never a fan of wasting energy, but in the autumn and winter I am a huge fan of having every single light on. Now, I live in a little studio apartment, so "every single light" is really not very many. If you have larger accommodations, pick a room to camp out in and flood it with light.
Or, Accept The Darkness Last winter I read an article in Kinfolk by a writer who loves living by candlelight during the darkest part of the year. Though it seemed hopelessly impractical to me at the time, it's also quite appealing. No amount of lightbulbs could ever replicate the magic of the sun, so why not accept that, and celebrate the magic of fire instead?
Do you have trouble staying awake and energized as the days get shorter? How do you cope? I need all the tips I can get, as the sleepiness is already kicking in and we are still months from turning our clocks back. Perhaps hibernation is my best bet…
(Image: Look! Shower Curtains On The Windows)