We’re slowly starting to creep into that time of year when it takes the sun a bit longer to decide to grace us with its presence. Just a short month ago, I would leave to work just prior to 7 a.m. and the sun would already be blinding me on my transit down the road. However, if I take this morning as an example, I stepped outside and walked to the car and I felt the distinctive chill of the season seep through my layers and the sky was still dark. That first little while that this starts happening can be disconcerting and confusing, especially if you leave work late enough that the sun has already started to go down.
Depending on the environment you’re in throughout your day, this change in season can wreak havoc on your system. And no, I’m not just referring to the presence of pumpkin-spiced everything… I promise I’ll stop picking on those who enjoy those treats eventually; I just need to get a few shots in before the caffeine levels in my blood make me more reasonable. MOVING ON! My point is that some folks are fortunate enough to work in an environment where they can actively see the daylight. Some are not so fortunate and may work in a remote environment or an enclosed office where access to daylight isn’t always possible.
It should come as no surprise that the daylight plays an important role in a person’s health. First and most importantly, access to sunlight helps our bodies to naturally produce Vitamin D. Since I intended this post as an opinion piece and not necessarily an educational one where I’d have to cite sources and shit, I’ll keep it light. But the reality is that Vitamin D is necessary for all sorts of things like good bone health, stronger immune system and certainly not least or last, it helps with managing Diabetes. That last one is a touch important to me, as you might imagine.
Sunlight plays an integral role in the body’s function, including proper sleep patterns and managing your circadian rhythm. That’s your “internal clock,” which helps you to manage getting to sleep and waking up. So you end up feeling all sorts of fucked up, when you wake up for the day and it’s still looking pitch dark outside. Most people don’t have a regular work day where they wake up with the sun streaming through their window while soft violin music plays.
For all the reasons I’ve described above and much more, it’s important to take some preventative steps to ensure the colder weather doesn’t get you down into the dumps. Once you’re in the groove, these steps can become overall good daily habits. Here are a couple of things you can do to try and ensure you keep your energy levels on the up-and-up:
1. Starts Your Morning With Exercise.
This is the best one, and something I wish I had more drive to maintain. I will FULLY admit that I’m terrible at doing anything, first thing in the morning, other than reaching for some caffeine. But doing exercise first thing in the morning gets you or blood flowing and oxygenated and will help you to hit the ground running far better than any cup of coffee you may grab. My wife is an absolute champion at this, usually starting her morning with a rigorous exercise routine she follows. During the pandemic winter, I used to walk my spin to the bus stop then walk anywhere from 5 to 10 kilometres. The result was the cold air woke me up and brutalized me before facing my day.
2. Drink Some Water.
I’m a huge fan of caffeine for a variety of reasons. So I can’t honestly say with a straight face that I do this one, but there are studies that show that gulping down a glass of water first thing in the morning will jump start your system and help to wake you up. I have no idea if it works or not, since I guzzle caffeine minutes after waking. And don’t ask me what studies I’m talking about. I don’t have enough caffeine to remember where I read them…
3. Get Outside And Take A Walk.
If you don’t work in an environment where you can see the sun, then go to where you can access it. Get some fresh air, take a walk and get some natural light on your body (and no, I’m not condoning stripping down and sunbathing while at work). Twice a day, I’ll take fifteen minutes to take a short walk outside, get some air and move around a bit. It makes all the difference and helps greatly with productivity. Most jobs entitle you to breaks throughout the day, so you should take advantage of them.
4. Control Your Blood Sugars.
It’s obvious that you should be doing this anyway, but maintaining balanced blood sugars will help keep your overall energy levels up. Nothing saps your energy faster than having an extreme high or low, followed by balancing it out. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that usually leaves me feeling like all I want to do is sleep. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is not only a good idea for Diabetics in general, it can go a long way towards keeping you energized and moving throughout the day. Especially when in conjunction with everything else on this list.
There you have it. I’m no genius and none of this is reinventing the wheel, it’s simply common sense. But not everyone thinks about these things so maybe this will spark some ideas for the cold weather ahead. Especially here in Saskatchewan, the morning blahs tend to hit all that much harder once there’s snow on the ground and the weather reaches -50 degrees Celsius. That almost guarantees wanting to stay curled up in bed, despite whatever steps you may take. But life happens and facing the day is a necessity. May as well try to make it a energized and motivated as possible. ☯️