One of the best things about summer is that the sun rises much earlier and sets much later than it does during the winter — meaning longer days to do the things we love to do. Around the Winter Solstice, you’re looking at just about 9 or 10 hours of daylight in comparison to over 14 or 15 hours of daylight during this time of year (depending on exactly where you live, of course).
If you don’t have to leave for work until 8 a.m., you still have about two and a half hours (more or less) of daylight prior to then that you can use to do something that energizes you. And at night? In many places, depending on how far north you are, the sun doesn’t set until 9 or even 10 p.m. — giving you lots of extra time to get some additional activity into your day before it’s time to turn in.
Now’s the time to really take advantage of all this extra daylight. Here’s just a handful of ideas to consider working into your own early morning and late evening routines.
Mindfully watch the sun come up. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, head to the nearest window with a view, and allow your mind to wander as you gaze up into the sky. Getting up an extra hour or so earlier to watch the sunrise can help you be more intentional about your day.
Get a natural hit of Vitamin D. Whether you decide to go for a short walk or a long run, getting some sun first thing is one of the best ways to wake up. According to one study, exposure to bright light in the morning hours may help with healthy weight maintenance.
Enjoy your breakfast outside. It’s easy enough to sit on the stoop of your front porch or take your breakfast with you to the nearest park bench. You’ll enjoy your breakfast more and avoid overeating when you’re not focused on watching the morning news or your smartphone.
Write an extra long journal post out on a patio. With all that extra daylight in the morning, it’s worth getting up earlier so you can head out to your backyard, balcony or even a local coffee shop’s patio to take some time to do some serious introspective journaling.
Put your Netflix subscription on hold. Yes, seriously. And yes, Netflix actually allows this! If you’ve made a habit out of spending most evenings in front of screens, putting that habit on hold for the summer will give you the opportunity to do other things like tend to your garden, walk the dog, or play with your kids outside.
Go for an evening walk to clear your mind. Walking — especially in green space — naturally helps relieve stress and anxiety. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a busy day.
Meditate in your backyard or on your balcony. Meditation is another great stress and anxiety reliever, and if you can do it outside, even better! Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and allow the sounds of nature and the surrounding area to soothe your mind.
Read a book by the window. With brighter evenings, you can now enjoy reading a book without the help of artificial light. Put on some headphones and listen to some calming ambient or instrumental music if you want as well.
These ideas are great for practically anyone, but make sure you tailor your early morning and late evening activities to your lifestyle and what you like to do best. It won’t be long before the days slowly start getting shorter again!