Did you say daylight savings or happiness killer?

We all can agree: When the sun goes down so early in the day, so does our mood.


Cara Brashears and Finding Endorphins

Anyone else feel like it was 11:00 when it was only 6:00 the past few nights? After daylight savings kicked in Sunday morning, a sudden pitch blackness overwhelmed our windows when we thought it was only dinner time. Since then, I’ve wanted to do nothing else besides curl up in soft blankets with sweatpants and fuzzy socks, knock my homework off my bed, and just sleep.

So, I could get angry with Ben Franklin, who the brilliant idea of time change belongs to (Any senior reminded of our wonderfully fun state assessment synthesis essay last year?). But hey, I can’t hate the guy for wanting to save money on candles in the morning. And I must admit it is nice to have daylight at 6:30am, seeing as how my alarm does absolutely squat for pulling me out of bed to attend those senior year classes I am oh-so-motivated for.

The part that downright blows is how the early darkness affects our mood. We have little excitement for doing anything outdoors; we want to stay inside, watch tv, binge on delicious carbs and sleep, sleep, sleep. Any meager attempt to do anything productive drains us of energy.

But why? When our eyes detect darkness, our brain drowns us in melatonin, the familiar hormone that monitors sleep. This abundance tricks our minds into thinking we should be asleep – yet we’re forcing our bodies to stay awake. Whereas in the summer, bright sunlight diminishes melatonin levels and pumps out serotonin, naturally elevating our mood.

Clearly, dear old Ben didn’t consider the psychological effects of his concept that annoys the crap out of everyone. But while we’re impatiently waiting to spring forward to sunshine and happiness, there are a few things we can do to boost our emotions.

  • Do what you love. Everyone has hobbies that makes them smile. I download new music, write, read, or go out shopping. Put in that old Mario Kart game, get crafty, or dig up your childhood board games. Set aside your worries and focus your energy on something that entertains you.
  • Join the healthy bandwagon. Even though “Eat me!” is scrawled all over that chocolate glazed donut with sprinkles, the processed sugars and fats will leave you feeling more groggy and less energized than before. Focus on eating natural greens, protein, and the good fats – it’ll eliminate mood drops from junk food, and leave you feeling healthier and happier.
  • When in doubt, dance. To quote AWOLNATION, “Dance baby dance like the world is ending.” Or in this case, like the sunlight is ending. Imagine that favorite beat in your head and groove. I don’t care where you are – in a class, the hallway, at home or in public – dance whatever way suits your fancy. I’m a fan of stepping side to side with some energetic rhythm. It may not be a “dance move,” but it gets me giddy and loving life.
  • Grow those wings and be a social butterfly. Even if you don’t want to, get off your butt and go out. Laughing with friends sure beats hiding under a blanket at home. It might suck at first when you leave the warmth of your sheets, but once you’re in a positive, talkative atmosphere, you won’t be missing the darkness of your bedroom.
  • Just keep moving. As comfy as that couch looks, take time each day to get up and get your blood flowing. Whether it’s a trip to the gym or a walk around the block, exercising naturally gets those positive brain chemicals to thrive. Head to a yoga class or play a pick-up game of basketball with friends. Whatever kind of movement makes you happy, go for it.
  • Make your room a favorite place. When you find yourself at home for the night, don’t be disappointed when you’re holed up in your bedroom. Make it inviting. Rearrange your furniture, keep it tidy, fill the walls with colorful posters and art. Light some candles and play some good music. Whatever it is that makes your room an uplifting place to be, make it happen.

Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding this god-awful darkness (Although, if you’re still upset with Ben Franklin, please know that I would be more than happy to save you from his presence and take any hundred-dollar bills off your hands). But in these next months while we’re missing the sun, keep your thoughts positive. Do whatever you can to keep that mouth curved upward, and soon enough, we’ll be springing forward to lighter times.