by Aziza L. Doumani
Longer, brighter days sound invigorating, right? What's not to like?
But the way we transition into those days are less than appealing for many. It's Daylight Saving Time. Our clocks to forward one hour, and an imposed loss of sleep rains down on us.
Some people can’t wait for Daylight Saving Time (DST). They kick into high gear. For others, “It’s Daylight Saving Time, and I'm a mess,” is more the mantra.
For me, I find myself in the "I'm a mess" camp. Not my best time, for sure. I can drag for days if I am not proactive with focused, healthy efforts.
Can losing a single hour of sleep be that disruptive? I have often wondered if it's a nocebo effect (negative placebo), and I am convincing myself I will feel poorly. Not so.
Feel crappy? You are not alone. The abrupt time change can be stressful in spite of exiting darker days. Even those who are thrilled to be past seasonal affective disorder can feel unrested or restless.
Some of my clients who are highly sensitive and empathic tell me they feel an energetic shift in the same form moon phases impact them. It's only anecdotal, but as an energy healer, the feelings of my clients are what direct me in their sessions.
It is not necessarily the single day and one hour that can impact you. It helps to view it more broadly. Most sleep research suggests it is also the days following when we feel the blues and blahs.
And how ironic that Daylight Saving, the single most sleep-disruptive day the year, kicks off National Sleep Awareness Week.
There is science to why DST is not the healthiest transition. Losing an hour of sleep is a direct cause. But the loss of sleep and the change of light together disrupt circadian rhythms that are the hallmark of healthy sleep, For me, that makes me simultaneously wired and tired.
We know the cost of sleep deprivation. But DST also alters mood. The sudden switch can leave us out of sync as patterns of physiology and lifestyle are thrown off course. Beyond the one night loss, the change throws hormones off that influence eating habits and regulate emotions.
For myself, I have feelings of lethargy but also almost manic and over-energized. That might sound appealing to have a bundle of energy to channel, but it's symbolic that I'm not in balance. So, as I add these thoughts to my blog, I'm capitalizing on feeling like I've had 10 cups of coffee, knowing that it's not really a healthy sign, and I'm likely to feel mediocre later on. I know I can end up on the sofa with low-vibration items from the grocery store that have a shelf life into the next millennia (notice that I did not call it "food.")
Not all is lost. There are so many self-care and supportive resources available to support a smooth transition!
If this is problematic for you, too, you might need to explore what wellness modalities are for you, but once you identify them, including the right professionals to support you, feeling vital is readily accessible.
My personal experience with DST is that, unless I prepare and amp up my self-care in the days before and well after, I will feel off kilter for a couple weeks. I have to push myself to rally. My memory and focus are definitely not as good!
Over time, through exploring what I now know supports my balance, I've discovered how to recalibrate more easily.
For me, my at-home self-care includes daily reiki self-treatments. I focus on foods more as medicine. I take salt baths, double down on essential oils from their clinical design,
I give myself permission to take naps after the time change. Fresh air with long walks outside ground me, feeling literally rooted in the earth as my inner and outer anchor. I ignore self-imposed pressures to push through.
These are all things I can do at home, and they are appealing for that reason. I use my budget for things I cannot do for myself, and I don't need to set a bunch of appointments to enjoy a variety of care options.
Speaking of budget, I do take self-care to the next level and head out to my colleagues for my spring acupuncture treatment and getting in my time for energy healing. Sometimes I get side-tracked with life. But this is one time during the year I ensure I do not skip.
Self-care looks different for everyone. But, generally, these may help you with the time transition:
Go to bed an hour earlier the night of DST. Sleeping in helps, but the science behind going to bed earlier shows better adjustment.
Exercise more vigorously to offset the earlier bedtime and ensure you are truly tired. However; be mindful of the time you exercise. Later exercise can be activating, which will defeat the purpose of tiring you for successful sleep.
Following the time change, balance your rest and activity for a few days.
Ensure good sleep hygiene. Turn off devices that emit blue light. Ditch the sleep aids! Even natural ones aren't a guarantee of true sleep. This should be an ongoing habit, but it is especially important here.
Consider nature walks. Nature is such good medicine for when our bodies feel deprived.
Essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, and tulsi (holy basil), are simultaneously relaxing and restorative. Tulsi is am adaptogen, meaning, it adapts to harmonize you according to how you are feeling. If you feel anxious, it can calm you. It is refreshing if you are tired. Having an informed and reputable practitioner make an inhaler for you to have on hand can help when you feel wried, tired or foggy. If you choose to bypass having someone do it for you, make sure you purchase excellent oils. And above all, know if they interact with medications you might be taking!
Listen to uplifting or soothing music.
Try some intentional breathing, regulating the flow of breath to balance body and mind.
Do something that feels creative: doodle, journal, work a puzzle, or other low-demand activities that are comforting yet stimulating.
Avoid caffeine, sugar, and eating on the go, and opt for living colorful foods that run the color spectrum. It can help minimize the tumult of feeling energetic and then drained, as some describe adjusting to the time change.
As an all-around best support for wellness balance, there’s energy healing, a powerful route to a smooth transition. One of my favorite ways to describe reiki and chakra energy balancing is "massage for the soul."
What makes is valuable in this context? Because energy healing is a catalyst for engaging one’s own innate healing, it’s gentle yet positively supportive. There’s nothing foreign or aggressive for the body to integrate.
Since it’s your body’s own intelligence using the energy, your adjustments are adaptogenic—your body decides what it needs, and takes those measures. It is why people say, “I feel lighter,” “That was lovely,” or “I feel like myself again.” They are rested yet enlivened after a treatment.
Since energy medicine is complementary, you don’t need to choose it over something else. Quite the opposite; it acts synergistically to complement other treatments and medical care.
Reiki activates the body's parasympathetic nervous system (rest and restore). It assists in realigning and fortifying energy centers amid big internal shifts. It coaxes you into alpha and theta brain states, the states of relaxation, intuition, and deep meditation, that feel like you are asleep but are not. Sometimes you do actually fall asleep. Nap or no nap, you can let the energy and your body do all the restorative work. How easy is that?!
The relaxation can feel so complete, you may sense that you regained that hour of sleep you lost, and reset your dials so your internal clock springs forward, too, not just the time.
Does Daylight Saving Time affect you? How? Leave a comment about your own self-care, and how it helps you maintain your life force energy.
Aziza Doumani is a Reiki Master practitioner and teacher who includes other energy medicine modalities such as Shamanic energy healing, cord cutting and aura clearing, chakra balancing, and end-of-life energy support. She also offers wellbeing and self-care coaching, and compassionate guidance for seekers and those who desire a life of purpose and ease.