Daylight Saving Time: How to Get More Out of Your Day this Spring and Summer
Updated: Mar 11
Welcome to spring (well, almost)! While you're out enjoying the extra sunshine, now is also the perfect time to set yourself up for success. With daylight saving time (DST) upon us, it's important to understand how this change can affect your daily routine and learn some tips on how you can use this opportunity to become more efficient with your time and make the most of your energy. While “losing an hour” can be frustrating initially, Spring Forward is the perfect opportunity to refocus your attention and revitalize your schedule.
Understand the Basics of Daylight Saving Time
Created in Europe in the early 20th century, DST shifts clocks ahead an hour during the spring months, helping people make the most of their daylight. Every spring, we reset our clocks forward one hour to take advantage of the extra sunlight during warmer months. On the other hand, in the autumn we then turn our clocks back one hour – giving us an extra hour of sleep – in order to align our schedules with the rise and setting of the sun and keep our natural, circadian rhythm intact. While simple and seemingly minimally impactful, this one-hour shift in our schedule does a lot to keep us balanced and productive all year round!
How daylight saving time impacts your circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle and regulate when our bodies carry out specific tasks. These natural rhythms are heavily influenced by light, both natural (sunlight), as well as other sources of light (like blue lights from your phone and computers). Throughout the year, the sunrise and sunset shifts, and Day Light Saving is the way we help our bodies keep up with that shift by realigning schedules with the schedule of the sun.
So, we’ve talked about what Daylight Saving is and how it affects us, now it’s time to explore how you can make the most of your long days:
Rethink your morning routine
With daylight saving time upon us, we’re all having to adjust our clocks and daily schedules. However, it’s also an opportunity to rethink your morning routine by getting up earlier and taking advantage of the extra time you have with the sun. Instead of hitting the snooze button, think about embracing an earlier start to your day. After all, our bodies tend to be more energized and productive this time of year, so why not make the most of it?
This will look different for all of us, but if you’re deciding on different ways you can optimize your time in this new season, consider using that hour for things you may not usually get around to like journaling, hitting the gym, or meditating. You can also use the time to get a headstart on your daily to-do list, tackling those items that require more of your quiet focus and attention head-on.
Just because the day is longer, doesn’t mean you need to work longer. Reward yourself for your early start by honoring your body and mind’s desire to end work a little early as well. Take advantage of the extra hours of sun by having drinks after work at an outdoor bar or rooftop or taking a walk with a friend.
Whatever you decide, remember that small changes can make a big difference, so don’t forget to spring forward and invigorate your day by rejuvenating your morning and taking full advantage of your evenings.
Explore the possibilities
Spring forward is a time of hope. During this time of year you’ll feel the natural urge to enjoy more leisure; when this feeling arises, remember that you deserve to take a break and enjoy the peace and promise the spring and summer months have to offer you. Spring is the time of year associated with opportunity and rebirth and is also the perfect time to get more out of your day and maximize productivity. Summer is the time of growth. Just as it is in nature, let the same be true in your life. Take this time to get connected with who you are underneath all the titles and responsibilities and blossom into a new version of yourself.
Take breaks throughout the day
You don’t have to wait until the end of the workday to enjoy the sunlight, and in fact, you shouldn’t! Did you know that taking regular breaks during the day can actually boost your productivity and focus? Exposure to sunlight may increase the release of serotonin, a hormone that can help boost your mood, and help you feel more focused. Taking a midday break can be just the boost your brain needs to spark energy and boost your overall productivity.
For those who may not be able to break away from work to experience this impact directly, reports have shown that even looking at nature out of your window can have some of the same calming effects.
Catch the sunset after work
One of my personal favorite things about spring forward is the fact that it gives you the time to step away from the office before the sun goes down for the day. After a long day of work, nothing beats catching the last few moments of the sunset sky. Taking a few minutes to observe the little things like a poetic hue of purple, pink, blue, and orange provides visual stimulation and can help reset your mind after a draining day.
With the added hour of sunshine and daylight, embrace the season by using the extra light to increase your productivity, modify your sleeping habits, honor your body and circadian rhythm, and get into alignment with nature. Remember, you don’t have to make huge shifts in your lifestyle. Instead, take small steps towards improvement and check in with yourself to ensure you’re getting the most out of each day.