The lost hour


I slept in today. Not a huge sleep in for a Sunday, but a sleep in nonetheless. And I was OK with this sleep in, and the time I got out of bed, until I realised an hour had been stolen from me. And then suddenly and ridiculously, I had a psychological shift in my perception of time and the anxiety started and the panic set in. How was I going to get everything done today? I couldn’t possibly, now I had lost an entire hour of my life!

My phone said it was 9.20am when I sat down to do my morning meditation. As part of my meditation teaching course I have shifted my practice away from guided meditations and I am meditating on my own for as long as I need, for as long as it goes for. Whatever that may be. Today I surprised myself by doing an hour meditation. Although for a second, when I looked at the clock on the oven, it appeared I hadn’t meditated for any time at all. You see the oven clock showed 9.20am, the exact time my phone showed when I checked it as I got out of bed to go do my meditation. I was confused. How could that be? I know I started at 9.20am. Did I read the time wrong on my phone? And then I realised. Daylight savings had hit. Daylight savings was here. Even though my friend last night on the phone reminded me it was coming, I had clean forgotten. It was now 10.20am, as my phone confirmed. I went around the house and changed the other clocks, feeling the tightness beginning to build in my chest as my mind started going through the list of all the things I need to do today.

I have a lot to do today. I need to write two blog posts for Blogtober, or close to two. One for today and one ready for tomorrow as there is little time tomorrow to write given a full day of work, pilates for an hour in the evening followed by my meditation teaching course for a couple of hours. I also need to go and pick up some groceries from the Source Bulk Food Store, where we are buying non packaged food, and I have to go as I have run out of flour, and I need to make home made pasta today, as we aren’t buying prepackaged pasta either. At some point I also need to pick up my daughter from her post party sleep over, and I was planning to take the dog for a walk, as I really need to walk today. I really need to get outside. Being Sunday, it is my day to make Kombucha and do the second bottling of last week’s batch. And I have homework to do for tomorrow night’s meditation class. I can’t possibly get all this done now!

Reality check. I know all of these things will take more than an hour. And so, it really makes very little difference if the time is 9.20am or 10.20am. And, I looked at my phone when I got up, not any other clock. The change of time was already taken into account. I was OK about getting up at 9.20am when I first got up. Nothing had changed. I didn’t see 8.20am. I hadn’t really lost and hour. My panic was illogical. But acknowledging this did not help dispel it. No matter the reality, my day suddenly felt completely out of control and I felt I was facing an insurmountable problem. The irony, of feeling this way not long after writing a post about our perception of time, was not lost on me.

There was nothing else to do but give in to it. So, I sat down and ate breakfast. With food in my belly, my brain was much more logical and despite having three or four ideas for today’s post, I decided to write about my ridiculousness, to share my illogical reaction and anxiety about daylight savings because I know I am not alone. Somehow the ‘fading of the curtains’ during daylight savings gets to us, the feeling of an hour being stolen from us offends us. Until about day three, and then we are good with it, particularly given it signifies the start of summer coming and more daylight after work, more time in the sunshine, more playtime. And hey, it will be lighter longer today, and I can walk the dog during the extra daylight time in the late afternoon.

It is so much nicer to walk home from work with the sun a little higher, and it being daylight when you get home. And if there are no evening commitments, you get to sit in the sun for a bit on the deck enjoying a nice beverage or two. And yes, to begin with the mornings are hard, particularly the first Monday (grateful the first day of daylight savings is always a Sunday). It is a little darker when we rise to go to work to begin with, but eventually, it gets lighter and lighter.

I welcome with open arms the season changing to summer, the days becoming longer, the evenings a little shorter. I thrive on sunshine, I always have. Like a flower needing the sun to grow, to blossom and to open. In second year university, I was hit with an extreme fatigue for most of the year, the doctors suspected Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and possibly Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly named SADs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was a relatively unknown condition by the general public in the late 1980s, and at that time it was one of those conditions where people raised an eyebrow when you told them about it. With that look on their face like what you were describing was all in your head. SADs was even lesser known. The year I was told I might have either of these conditions, or a combination of the two, was the year after the first definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had been published. So it was something very new to most people, although looking up the history of it for this post today, I had no idea it had been around since the mid 1930s, just under another name ‘myalgic encephalomyelitis’.

Whether I had it or not, I will never know. Regardless, after the suggested diagnosis I considered some of my lifestyle choices and slowly made changes to recovery. At the time there was no clinics, no specialists in the area, so I just went back to the basics. I drank less alcohol. I changed my diet. I had previously decided to cut out all meat, but my vegetarian diet was insufficient as I was not eating enough of the right foods to provide me with my protein and energy needs. A bowl of rice and corn, doesn’t really cut it as a nutritious dinner. I removed wheat and then gluten from my diet. Something confirmed, much later in life, as necessary, not long after the release of the Coeliac gene test. As well as changing my diet to overcome the extreme exhaustion and malaise, I started, very slowly, a regular exercise routine and when strong enough I joined the gym and began going to aerobic classes (it was the late 1980s), eventually becoming a bit of a gym junkie, doing three classes in one night. But the most significant change was making sure I got enough sunshine. I opted not to take up the artificial light therapy offered, but made the effort to be outside as much as possible, particularly in the colder months, and took Vitamin D supplements regularly.

I don’t hate winter like I used to. But even so, when the warmer weather starts, when the sunshine and bright blue skies welcome me in the morning as I wake up, I instantly smile. It does lift my spirit and change my mood for the better. And I see it have this influence on other people too. Over the recent couple of days of great weather, I have noticed people look happier, smile more, have a spring in their step. So, despite the initial (and unreasonable) panic about everything I need to do today, I am grateful daylight savings is here again. And I feel OK now about losing an hour today. I hope you do too.