Longest Night for Locums and Travelers – The Winter Solstice

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. This point of the year is when the Northern Hemisphere is leaning the most away from the sun. Above the Arctic Circle, there is 24 hours of darkness. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere and Antarctic are bathed in sunlight. If we offered healthcare staffing services across the globe, I'm sure plenty of you would be migrating to the warmest hemispheres throughout the year.
So how does this affect us during the winter from day to day? Well, North America will only see nine hours and 32 minutes of daylight during the solstice, and 14 hours and 28 minutes of nighttime. From then on, you'll see late dawns and early sunsets. Another occurrence you can observe is the low arc of the sun across the sky each day. Notice your noontime shadow will be the longest of the year.    

It's up to you how you celebrate the orbit of our Earth this holiday season. Here are recommendations for our travelers:
Nurses - If you are working night shifts during the holidays, expect it to already be dark out when you're coming into work. At this time of the year, sleeping during the day will be easier since the days are shorter. Take advantage of the late sunrises as you gain a few extra hours of sleep. 
Nurse Winter Solstice | National Staffing Solutions Image

Physical Therapists - Plan a Winter Solstice yoga meditation session by candle light. Release the worries and cares of the past year and welcome opportunities for the new year. The solstice symbolizes the regeneration of life as longer days begin. Winter actually started 3 weeks ago for some on December 1, so think of the hardest times already behind you.
Physical Therapist Winter Solstice | National Staffing Solutions Image

Occupational Therapists - The solstice happens a different time every year depending on your hemisphere and time zone. Additionally, it actually happens at a specific time. This December 21st, the Sun will be exactly over the Tropic of Capricorn at UTC 10:44 AM. You can check to see how UTC translate to your time if you'd like to watch the sun stop moving southward, pause, and then start moving northward. Once the sun sets on this day, spend the evening by candle light to enjoy the darkest night. Some even stay up all night to wait for the arrival of light.
Occupational Therapists Winter Solstice | National Staffing Solutions Image
Speech-Language Pathologists - There is no border that cannot be overcome with communication and some creative solutions. Although the winter is the season of darkness and cold, the winter solstitium means "sun stands still." The sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from Earth. Use your creativity to create a new activity like weaving a sun with crafts. Or start a tradition to celebrate the day the sun turns around by making a pomander, a ball of sweet-smelling substances such as herbs and spices, for your students to place in a closet, drawer, or room. It's supposed to protect against infection.
Speech Language Pathologists Winter Solstice | National Staffing Solutions Image 
Physicians - With your wisdom and seasoned experience, look back to the times before modern day. Discover a historic tradition to celebrate the longest night. Lighting a Yule log is believed to have its origins in Germanic paganism. Gather with family, friends, or new travelers and host a festive meal.
Physicians Winter Solstice | National Staffing Solutions Image
The winter may be colder for some, but look on the bright side! Earth is at Perihelion, which is the closest orbit distance from the Sun. Remember that it is not the distance from the sun that determines the colder or warmer seasons. It is actually the tilt of the Earth on its axis by 23 1/2 degrees. The hemispheres just trade places receiving light and warmth most directly.
What do we look forward to next? After the Winter Solstice, the days will start to get longer and the nights shorter as Spring approaches in March.

Leanne Leuterio

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