depression, tuesday morning coffee

Tuesday Morning Coffee: Clocks

Can we all agree that this whole switching-of-the-clocks thing twice per year is done? I propose a boycott. Let’s just not fall back. I’ve got six months to make this catch on: who’s with me?

It’s only one hour. But it’s amazing how adapted we get to time and to light. I did a summer internship in a lab that studied circadian rhythms, and it was fascinating to learn how nearly all animals back to cyanobacteria are naturally attuned to the light. Hormones in our bodies flux at different times of day, making our energy levels, our appetites, our sex drive, our brain processing power peak at the times of day we need them. It’s also why we get jet-lagged and feel the effects of shortening days in the winter, and why the clocks changing even an hour throw us off.

So the struggle to get out of bed right now isn’t something we can just power through. We can re-train our brains onto this new schedule, but it takes time. Luckily, on the order of days and not weeks, but the challenge of going to bed early enough can create a bit of a viscious cycle.

Hopefully we can all give ourselves a break and not try to use brute force (coffee), to pretend we’re not affected, to not be surprised that we are.

It’s also a good lesson to start thinking about what other totally natural, biological wiring we sometimes ignore or write off. I do it with feelings of depression. Most of us have ways we try to ignore our bodies when it comes to food, to injuries, to sleep, to self-care. We say yes to something when we need to say no. We grin and bear it when we need to acknowledge that we’re suffering. We hermit when we need to ask for help.

These contradictions are scary, which is why they exist at all. They are tricks to make ourselves feel safe. All the while we are creating a deficit and then wonder why we crash.

So, take care of yourselves, friends. It may be only an hour, but there’s so much more going on.

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