Embracing the Darkness During the Shortest Days of the Year

It’s officially that time of year again, guys. The “OMG, why is it pitch black outside at 4 p.m.” time of year. The lack of light can put a severe and very real depressive mood among people that tend to thrive in the sunlight. It’s tough being surrounded by darkness for so many hours in the day but there are ways to embrace it and maybe even find some happiness in the dark. 

Nothing screams autumn and winter to me more than a cozy fireplace cuddle-up. Now that dusk comes around 3:45 p.m., lighting a fire when the sun goes down is a fantastic way to feel some warmth while being sheathed in a comforting, soft glow. If you have a fireplace in your home, definitely utilize it and read a book or snuggle up with your S/O (or if you’re like me, your dog will more than suffice as a snuggle buddy) for a comfy night in. If you don’t have a fireplace at home, try making a small bonfire outside to have a marshmallow roasting session with your friends and family. 

If your bedroom is anything like mine then you understand the struggle of the terribly harsh lighting that you’re forced to start using in the late afternoon when nightfall comes. To avoid having to use glaring light bulbs you can replace your traditional lighting with a few fairy string lights. I recommend choosing the warm white light color bulbs rather than LEDs, because the LEDs tend to give off a very bright, bluish light that can strain your eyes and somtimes give you a headache. Changing up the lighting in your room can have a tremendously positive impact on your mood when it starts getting dark outside. 

The fall and winter months bring with it the quintessential smell of the holiday season, which inevitably puts people in a good mood. I’m talking fresh baked cookies, balsam, hot cocoa, etc. These delectable scents are commonly found in candles around this time of year, so grab a few from Bath and Body Works or Target, and light 'em up for an ultra-cozy vibe with the aromas to match. When the sun goes down, it’s the perfect time to fill your house with comforting candlelight that creates the perfect ambiance for a movie night or an evening pamper session. 

For my outdoorsy friends, stargazing on a crisp autumn night is an absolutely perfect way to end the day. UMass has tons of great places that don’t have a significant amount of light pollution, so this fun and free activity is ideal for a date night with your S/O or a chill evening with your best friends. Bring some hot chocolate and a few blankets, and just take in the gorgeous night sky. If you’re lucky, you might even catch sight of a few shooting stars! 

Embracing the darkness is easier said than done but it definitely doesn’t have to put you in a miserable mood for the entire season. There’s plenty to do in these colder months, so try not to succumb to feeling down when the sunshine fades away. Take this time to recuperate from the hectic summer months and just take a breather. Merry and happy everything, always! 

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