Turning Back the Clocks and Divorce

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Subtitle: “Why Do We Hate Light?”

I woke this morning to an iPhone that read “4:30 am,” and was mildly annoyed until I realized it was “really” 5:30 am and I had just gained a quiet hour of pleasure reading. Carpe diem.

Mostly, though, I think Daylight Savings Time (thanks Ben Franklin!) is brilliant. Keep it around all year, I say.

On the longest day of the year, the sun bathes Connecticut for more than fifteen glorious hours. This year, the Winter Solstice is December 21, 2016, on which there will be nine paltry hours of light.  Nine.

“Falling Back”on November 6 — just as daylight is shrinking and air temperature is dropping — feels like a particularly Yankee approach to adding insult to injury. You think the sun sets early now? Boom. Docked you another hour.

This gap — from early November through the New Year — is really difficult for our clients going through divorce. It is a period of challenging and significant firsts, particularly with respect to the holidays, and, frankly, literally losing light does not help.

For people contemplating divorce, the impact of this season is a little different. People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” explains University of Washington Sociology professor Julie Brines. “Once these moments of hope and happiness fail to deliver on their promise of impending change” people can suffer disappointment and their expectations may settle. Often there is an uptick in the number of divorces following the holidays, a time that according to researchers “embodies the spirit of movement and change.”

Okay, How Do We Feel Better?

For both those considering divorce and those already going through the transition, the main key is to be aware of how this time of year can affect us. If you are like me and short days get you, consider a light therapy lamp (seriously, we have them on all the desks at Freed Marcroft), get outside and exercise even if the idea sounds miserable, and plan some evening activities so that you can avoid too much time cocooning on the couch.

By the way, even after all my caterwauling, it’s not lost on me that I owe the return to Eastern Standard Time not only for the inspiration for this blog post but also for the extra time I had over coffee in which to write it. More, after the Winter Solstice, we do all get to begin the brightening march to Spring.


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Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC