With all of the chaos happening in the world right now, let’s take a step back and talk about something a bit less stressful. Something, oh I don’t know, like the weather.
Nice weather we’re having. There it is, that thing you say to fill the awkward void of silence when there’s nothing better to talk about.
But it’s true. Our days are getting sunnier and we hope they may continue to.
And the start of spring means daylight saving time. Did you remember to turn your clocks ahead? Well, it may be the last time you will have to.
While it isn’t the greatest issue confronting our country, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act that would make daylight saving time (DST) permanent starting in 2023, thus ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in an effort to have brighter afternoons and more economic activity.
While the legislation is still waiting to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden, the Senate approved the measure unanimously by voice vote, given how painless it seems in comparison to almost every other event currently beckoning our political attention.
There’s an age-old story that DST was adopted to give farmers extra time in the sun to work in the field. However, with agriculture no longer being the main driving force of our economy, DST is typically used by countries as a way to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours.
So, with spring on its first legs and the federal government literally begging us to make the most of the daylight, why not spend more of your time outside?
Since the sun is setting close to 8 p.m. every night, there will be plenty of time to get that run in on the Greenway you’ve been meaning to do or go on that hike with the Outing Club that was just announced.
Our mental health can easily become a struggle when faced with a combination of exams and dark, gloomy weather. Seasonal depression is a very real challenge that many students fight to overcome during the fall and winter, making school extra challenging. Yet, have you noticed that with even just one nice day, everyone’s mood seems to dramatically improve?
You can see it: Students are outside, throwing frisbees to their friends on the UC Front Lawn. Hammocks are hanging from the trees, being pushed by a light breeze. Classes are even moved outside, for the lucky ones.
Studies have even shown that contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, well-being, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress. Making an effort to go outside may make all the difference.
As Oberlin College professor of psychology and environmental studies Cynthia Frantz put it, “Spending time in nature has cognitive benefits, but it also has emotional and existential benefits that go beyond just being able to solve arithmetic problems more quickly.”
With that being said, be sure to take advantage of the longer days we may soon see year-round. Sure, you may see it as having more time to get your homework done without having to turn on the lights in your room, but don’t forget to make it outside.
While sleep experts disagree with the passing of this latest legislation due to year-round standard time best aligning with human circadian biology, it’s difficult to argue that the outdoors proves to be one of the healthiest ways to escape from our responsibilities as students, which at times can feel overwhelming. Allow yourself to destress and sharpen your focus. You are your first priority, not your assignments, not your work. You.
We get it, it can be hard to remember that when the world feels so chaotic.
But, with so much else going on, we could all use a little bit more light in our lives right now.