April Snow, MA, MFTI

Hi, I’m April, a psychotherapist who wants to help you heal your past wounds, embrace your true self and begin to thrive again.

Spring Forward: 5 Strategies to Cope with the Time Change

Spring Forward: 5 Strategies to Cope with the Time Change

We all know the saying “Spring Forward, Fall Back” to help us remember the seasonal time changes. Although we dislike losing an hour of sleep over the weekend and feeling tired on that first Monday morning back to work, setting our clocks an hour ahead to give more light at the end of day is generally welcome. With longer days, there is more leisure time in the evening and with more exposure to sunlight, mood generally improves for those with the “winter blues”. However, anyone who is Highly Sensitive may be having a different experience of daylight savings time since any type of change can be a difficult adjustment and we are more prone to getting overstimulated when fatigued. 

No matter what the circumstance, Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are wired to notice subtle changes in their environment and process those changes before taking action. Thinking and processing new situations at such a deep level causes fatigue and difficulty making quick transitions. Although this time change is experienced every Spring, your nervous system will still need time to analyze all the subtle and more obvious shifts that come with it. With the different quality of light, everything may appear slightly different as you move throughout your day, including the behaviors of others around you. That is a lot for the Highly Sensitive brain to process! It would be no surprise if you are feeling more fatigued and overstimulated than normal.

Below are five strategies to help you ease into this transition. 

1. Minimize Caffeine Use

HSPs are typically very sensitive to the effects of caffeine, which can mimic feelings of anxiety or restlessness. Although you may feel the urge to increase caffeine use to counteract drowsiness throughout the day, try to limit caffeine intake to before lunchtime. Instead, take short breaks to rest when you are feeling tired or overstimulated. 

2. Take More Downtime

You will most likely feel more sleepy during the day as you adjust to daylight savings time and use additional energy to process the seasonal changes. Minimize extracurricular activities to allow for more rest this week.

3. Maintain Your Sleep Routine

Sleep deficits increase the likelihood of overstimulation, which only result in more difficulty falling asleep. Resist the urge to stay up later so that you can quickly reset your circadian clock and prevent ongoing sleep disturbances. 

4. Utilize Relaxation Techniques

If you have trouble falling asleep, do a calming activity before bed such as taking a warm bath, quietly drinking a cup of your favorite bedtime tea, try some gentle/restorative yoga poses or listen to a guided meditation. 

5. Create a Conducive Environment for Sleep

HSPs have increased sensory sensitivity and are often bothered by bright lights, loud noises and itchy fabrics. Conversely, we also notice subtle sensory input as well. Be sure to reduce any distractions, however small, that would hinder your ability to fall and stay asleep. 

If you find yourself struggling with the transition into daylight savings, you are not alone. Many Highly Sensitive People have difficulty with any type of transition, so it is completely understandable if you are feeling unsettled, less focused or more irritable this week. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself time to ease into the changes.

What helps you adjust to the time change?

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