INSIGHTS Shorter Days, Cozier Nights By Gwendolyn Plummer Wednesday, December 1, 2021 1:17 AM The end of Daylight Saving Time takes me by surprise every year. No matter how many times it’s happened, I’ll never get used to a 4:30 p.m. sunset—and I’ll never stop mentioning how dark it is to everyone I know, every time I open my mouth. These shorter, darker days can bring on some pretty tough feelings—Seasonal Affective Disorder, vitamin D deficiency, depression from spending less time outside, and just general fear of going out after dark—but darkness outside doesn’t have to directly correlate to darkness inside. To survive this season, we can take tips from people around the world who have seriously long, dark winters in places like Scandinavia and the arctic circle. The Danish concept of Hygge often pops up around this time of year—it’s “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,” according to the OED, and many use it as a fantastic excuse to make their homes cozy and warm in the winter months. So light those candles, put up that Christmas tree early, make yourself a hot chocolate and read a book by the fireplace—it’s better for your mental health than curling up in the dark. These things can be social, too—it’s safe to gather in our homes now, and there’s no better time than the winter for a potluck party with friends or a wine and cheese movie night. If you find yourself feeling really depressed things like bright light therapy, dawn simulating alarm clocks, and medication can make all the difference. Despite being taken aback by Daylight Saving Time, I do actually tend to enjoy these shorter days and longer nights. I’ll take any excuse to curl up in bed with candles lit and warm fairy lights on at 5 p.m. Winter is about slowing down, keeping close and finding contentment where you are. After the two years we’ve had, I think that’s an extra valuable skill.