What to Do With That Extra Hour of Daylight

Spring has sprung! Time to say goodbye to those depressing 5:00 sunsets and embrace the sun when you get off work. Whether or not you actually like the shift in light from morning to night, you have to admit that after moving from your home to the car to the elevator to your cubicle and spending most of your day there, breaking free from the box and soaking in the natural sunlight just feels good for the soul.

Here are five ways to take advantage of that extra hour of daylight you now have:

#1 Try a different kind of commute. If you're fortunate to live close to your work, consider walking or riding your bike back and forth each day. You'll save on gas, get some fresh air, and get that blood flowing before you dive into the day's to-do list.

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#2 Change up your workout routine. If you usually hit the gym after you clock out, those extra couple of daylight hours after work are a good reason to ditch the membership (at least for the summer) and take your workout where it should be: outside. Go for a run around your neighborhood (and possibly discover new places), try yoga in the park, join a local kickball league, or even learn to surf. You'll be getting your daily dose of healthful vitamin D on top of enjoying the end of a beautiful day outside.

#3 Start your spring garden. Certain plants that flower before setting fruit (such as tomatoes and peppers) thrive on lots of sun, so now is a good time to plant them in your garden. They like a minimum of six hours of direct sun per day (eight is even better), so place them in a south-facing location (or the sunniest spot in your yard) and say hello to fresh salsa come summer.

#4 Never turn down happy hour. Happy hour just got a whole lot happier. Psychologically, sometimes we feel it's too late to go out when the sky is dark and we turn down yet another invitation for drinks — even if it's only five in the afternoon. But when the sun's still shining and everyone's leaving the office, the energy seems to amplify. Stay out as long as you can and indulge in those balmy nights.

#5 Dine alfresco. Speaking of balmy nights, take advantage of the later sunsets by taking your dinners outside. Better yet, make your own happy hour and invite friends over for a barbecue or a picnic. There's something so magical about dining at dusk and eventually under the stars.

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