Daylight Saving

It happens to me every year. The daylight hours grow short and my energy levels start to fade. Getting out of bed each morning takes a bit more effort. A fresh salad for lunch is replaced by the ease of heating up a can of soup. At the end of each day, I find myself crawling back into bed and wondering why I didn’t get more done. 

This season I’m trying to have a little more grace for myself when it comes to acknowledging the need for slowing down. It turns out we weren’t really meant to function in a perpetual state of chaos and stress. Research, and perhaps even your own anecdotal experience, has shown that the human body is well equipped to handle short-term stress. A surge of hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine make us capable of far more than we might imagine — for a little while. What our bodies are not very good at is maintaining that stress for a long time. If stress and fatigue become chronic (think months and years), they start to correlate to very bad health outcomes. 

When our ancestors encountered a stressful event, it was likely to be fairly short in duration (either the wolf/bear/tiger ate them or their adrenaline surged and they got away, for example). Assuming they survived, they would likely have time to recover from the stressful event before another one began. These days, many of us are living with the constant stress and fatigue of work, family commitments and 24-7 accessibility through the crazy little computers we carry around in our pockets.

And whether you love winter or not, there is general acceptance that most things will get a little harder for the next few months — that extra five minutes to scrape the windshield each morning or the snowstorm that closes roads and wreaks havoc on travel plans. These conditions make for a resilient population, but looking ahead to the next six months of them can be a bit daunting. 

This is why most people have come to dread the exclamation point on this season of drudgery, also known as Daylight Saving Time. It’s about to get even harder to get up in the morning. And the daylight hours for getting things done will feel even shorter. 

But here’s another way to look at it. This weekend when the clocks roll back, think of it as the gift of an extra hour. An hour that you can use to rest and refill your weary soul. Perhaps it is literally an extra hour of sleep. Maybe it is taking time to feel gratitude around you. Or maybe, what you are really craving, is a few minutes to read a book, sit by the fire or savor a glass of bourbon (or all three at the same time?). 

As you reprogram the clocks around your house, consider it a reset for yourself as well. Imagine those hunters of long ago coming back to their village after a successful bison hunt (or maybe it’s 2021 and you did really just return from a bison hunt). It is time to rest and recover. It is time to share good food with the people you love and be grateful for the place you call home. There will be more adrenaline inducing hunts in the future, perhaps even as early as Monday morning. But for one bonus hour this weekend, give yourself a little grace and a time to rest. 

Mandy Fabel is a Wyoming resident passionate about challenging stereotypes and pushing herself and others to be the best version of themselves. She currently serves as the executive director of Leadership Wyoming and the co-founder of the YouTube channel Granola & Gasoline. She recently turned her first year of columns from The Sheridan Press into a book, “Take What the Road Gives You.”

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