How to Make the Most of Short Winter Days

How to Make the Most of Short Winter Days

One fall, my roommate and I got in a doozy of an argument about . . . Daylight vs. Standard Time. He was going hiking the day the clocks turned back. I warned him that the sun would go down an hour earlier, so he better get an early start. But he was sure it was the other way around – that the sun would set later. Ultimately, we decided to let him find out on his hike and report back.

Aaaaand I was right. The sun sets earlier when you return to standard time. Ha!

For many people, returning to standard time is rough. Standard time means leaving school or work in the dark. Sunset comes so much earlier and your day seems that much shorter. It’s still the same 24 hours, but the daylight hours have been adjusted.

However, there are some things you can do to make that shorter day just as productive!

How to Make the Most of Short Winter Days


Whenever you’re in a time crunch, real or otherwise, you need to prioritize your commitments. What has to be done right now? What can be done next week? Which things can I get help from someone else? What can I drop from my list?

Once you’ve decided what absolutely has to be done this week, use your planner to set aside time to get it all done. Place all your required events (work, class, sports, meetings, etc) on the calendar. Then use the leftover time for all those assignments or to-dos. And actually schedule laundry or studying for an exam.

Create a Routine

Create nightly and/ or morning routines to help you save some time. You know where things are supposed to be and when. Having a routine will also help you if you’re feeling particularly sluggish.

Do the Hard Things First

It’s so tempting to go home right after work or school. But you know what often doesn’t happen? All those things on your to-do list.

Instead of heading home, go someplace else and do the hardest thing on your list. Go to the library and work on that essay. Pack your gym bag in the morning and drag your butt to the gym. Then go home and fall onto the couch – you’ve earned it!

Get Some Sunlight

I live in a place with a real winter, so I know this can be tough. At minimum, open your curtains in the morning and let the sunshine in. Many scientists believe that seeing the sun, especially in the morning, improves your health and will help you fall asleep sooner that night.

On days that are going to be sunnier (and warmer), head outside for a quick walk. This doesn’t need to be a 3-mile hike. Just a quick 10 minutes around the neighborhood, reveling in all that sunny glory should be enough. Your dog will thank you, as well.

Go to Bed

No, really. Few Americans get the amount of sleep they need, teens especially. But those dark winter nights are perfect to make up for all the sleep you lost during the summer. And since you prioritized your work and did the hard stuff first, you actually have the time to go to bear earlier. Get my tips for getting more sleep here!

I hope these tips will help you make the most of these shorter winter days and keep you healthy all winter long!

What is your favorite way to beat the winter blues? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How a Nightly Routine Can Make for a Better Tomorrow, How to Be Productive When You Just Don’t Want To, How to Cut the Stress This Holiday Season

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