With winter creeping in and the sun setting earlier each day, it may seem that the world is escaping through your fingertips. During this time of year, the extended period of darkness throughout the Northern Hemisphere makes our brains think we should be asleep. As a result, people can be more unproductive than usual.
Although you may want to bury yourself under your cosy duvet and watch some Netflix, we want to let you in on a few secrets as to how to keep a spring in your step during the dark evenings.
There are countless ways to help you deal with dark evenings. The following suggestions and tips are mentioned with students like you in mind. Try these out and let us know if you have found them helpful!
We don’t want to sound like your parents nagging you to get out of bed, but waking up before sunrise, especially in these darker months is the perfect way to start your day. As it is the winter months, sunrise is quite late depending on where you are located — so consider this a bit of a lie-in.
We suggest getting out into the world; whether this is by going for a walk or a jog, we guarantee that when you start to see the sun peaking over the horizon that you will feel as though you’ve already accomplished something. Also, as you are now awake for all the bright hours of the day, you will have more productive hours to get all your work and assignments done.
With lots of universities having moved their lectures online, many find themselves spending more time at home than ever before. If you remember the days of being on-campus, you will recall all the time spent heading to and from classes. These little breaks are ever so important to maintain energy throughout the day.
As such, make time to stretch your legs between classes and if possible, head outside during your lunch hours. Perhaps treat yourself to a coffee, pastry or juice as you wander about the locality.
Lunchtime is perfect for going outdoors during the winter months, as it is the warmest time of the day, and more importantly, it is daylight! You will feel refreshed and energised to continue your studies and assignments.
Although the sun may be setting earlier, it doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Having a little bit of fun planned gives you something to look forward to in the evenings. For those living with housemates, why not organise for a Come Dine with Me style competition, where you each are given the opportunity to show off your cooking skills. Or perhaps plan to sit down together and watch one movie from a movie series each night. If you’re a fan of TikTok, why not learn one of the viral dances, or perhaps you might come up with one of your own.
Maybe your idea of fun is a little different. If you are a fan of fitness, then why not consider joining in on an online fitness class, or perhaps you’d prefer to get out for a run. You may even want to curl up on the couch with a good book and read to your heart’s content. Whatever your idea of fun may be, be sure to make time for it during these dark evenings.
One of the most challenging things experienced during the longer and darker evenings is the feeling of isolation. It is incredibly important to reach out to friends or family to check in on them and catch up with one another. Chances are they too are hoping someone will give them a ring or FaceTime. Get lost in the conversation as you tell each other stories about your day; we promise the time will fly by!
One of the best ways to deal with dark evenings is to head to bed earlier. Making sure you get a good night’s sleep, between seven and eight hours each night, will ensure you are ready to tackle the next day. Your eyes will be rested, and your brain will be prepared for the next day of lectures. If that’s not enough, by going to bed earlier, you will also have a better chance of watching the sunrise again the next morning, making for drool-worthy Instagram pictures.
However, you decide to deal with the darker evenings, remind yourself that the shortest day of the year is 21 December. After this date, the evenings get progressively shorter, and there is more daylight. With time flying, soon you will be meeting friends outside at 8pm and 9pm.
You can read our guide to mastering a British Christmas here.
Aoife is a freelance writer and journalist based in Ireland. She is passionate about travel, education and culture.