How To Cope With The Shortening Days Of Autumn

Here are some tips on managing fewer daylight hours.

sunsetting over a lake
Photo by author, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

I love autumn! I think it’s my favorite season. The leaves are showing more of their true colors, the crisp bite to the air, a bright blue sky, and pumpkins for sale along the roadside always make me feel good.

But, along with the beautiful scenes we get to experience in autumn, we realize our days are shorter. There is no way to miss this, is there? Our after-dinner walks with our dog Molly are bordering on darkness before 7 p.m. Mornings are met with fog over the lake or in the coulees for those of my friends living in the Driftless Area from whence we came. This morning it was 24 degrees and there was frost! It’s the end of September and autumn is in full swing!

How do we cope with days that have less sunlight than darkness? There are a few things I do that you might consider.

  1. Prepare for this time of year. Last week, we went home from a vacation to Maine. I felt the difference in the air and noticed the early dusk and acted accordingly. My houseplants were brought inside. I have three Dracaena trifasciata or plants known as mother in laws tongue. They’ve spent the summer on our deck, which was probably too much sunlight for them, but they dealt well with it. Cold and frost, now that’s another thing. They made their way inside two nights ago.
pink geranium with Irish moss
Image by author, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022
  1. Change up your gardens. No, I don’t mean to clean everything up — leaving plants and leaf debris is good for those pollinators that use the ground to hibernate or metamorphize. I mean ditch your summer plants and get some chrysanthemums and asters! In the next few days, I’ll be emptying my pots of zinnia, petunia, and coleus in exchange for mums and pumpkins. I’m not great at this change for I usually procrastinate (maybe a reluctance to believe the cold is here), but I do like it once I take care of it. My husband bought me the biggest mum I ever saw last weekend at a local farmer’s market.

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Carol Labuzzetta, MS Natural Resources, MS Nursing

Environmental educator with a passion for teaching youth using the science of awe. Traveler, Photographer, Author, Wife, Mother. Boosted Writer x 10