The Correct Use of More Daylight

Here in the Midwest, our days are longer during the summer. The sun is up before I head out to work, and it’s still shining when I commute home. Back in southeast Kansas, where I grew up, I remember the sky being light at 10 p.m. Loved those long summer days! I would rise close to dawn, just to sit out in our large backyard and watch sunshine light up the grass and the birds begin their day. Yes, I was a weird kid who never slept in and who enjoyed being quiet out in the early morning. I have long since accepted my weirdness as God’s funny gift.

sunLong days are a gift—especially if, like me, you have survived a long winter with short days but without a shortened work schedule to correspond to the daylight. In my opinion, we humans should respect our biorhythms and adjust activity accordingly. Do more when the sun’s out, and sleep more when the sun goes to bed.

Of course, that would be impossible for life (and the economy) in the U.S.A., given how interrelated we are across regions, climates, and time zones. If all of us followed the sun, then some people would work long hours all year long, and others would be in hibernation three-fourths of the year. It just doesn’t make good sense to follow the sun in the same way our ancestors did.

Still, many of us have a lot of daylight in the summer months, and that brings enough of a shift to our days that we would do well to consider how to approach the lengthened hours. Some of us simply lengthen our to-do lists to match the stretching daylight. Others use good-weather days to nurture the inner child: play more, nap more, move more, socialize more.

I’m inclined to use the increased daylight for more self-care. After a gray winter, I let the sun warm my bones. After bundling up in sweaters and throws, I roam around—even in the backyard—in my jammies and basically live on our back porch. After months of struggling to wake up and move, I wake up with the earlier sun and sit on the swing, just to eat blueberries and hang out with the dogs and cats.

My encouragement for you is simply this: consider the extra daylight in your life right now, how you will interact with it, and why.

About Vinita Hampton Wright 184 Articles
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

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