This is my 4th winter in Scandinavia. I thought I would get used to the seemingly perpetual darkness. But that wasn’t the case this year. I started feeling stressed about the decreasing daylight since summer solstice (really! It is ridiculous!)
A brief timeline:
- After Summer Solstice (21 June): I start to feel stressed and sad as the days become shorter, 2 mins per day
- October: I start to behave strange, acting impulsively, almost childish
- November: the struggle is real
- December: can’t take it anymore!!!
- January: better, the snow brightens up the environment + too busy studying for exams
- February: coldest month usually, but days are getting longer.
- March: I have finally survived another winter
- April: surprise snowstorm comes out of nowhere!
There are tons of “suggestions” out there on how to beat the winter blues. I tested them and here are my reflections.
1/ Eat candy
Chocolate and sweets have some chemicals that make you happy. I really enjoy these sweet and sour gummy “coke bottle” candies. I found myself binge eating, going through a bag a week. Yes, it is very satisfying.
Short-term happiness achieved.
2/ Eat Chilies
One of the bosses at Chalmers comes from Mexico. He shared his trick of beating the old man’s winter – by consuming chilies.
I mix it into my pasta sauce. It gives the spaghetti a little kick. Yep, it induces some sweat on the forehead.
Again, chilies are satisfying… for 30 mins or so.
Each time I refund my bottles (yes, there’s economic incentive to recycling in Sweden), I buy a few lottery tickets.
We all have hopes and dreams… mine are Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Brazil… all countries in the southern hemisphere.
I am still in Göteborg…
Keep Dreaming! Keep Recycling!
4/ Pop Some Pills
Some say the sun helps the human synthesis Vitamin D. In the absence of the sun, taking the D pill can substitute some of its benefits.
Sure… I am sure it works.
But honestly, I don’t feel happier or less grumpy.
There are strong correlations between dark long winters and alcoholism. If you spend 6 hrs in the bar, you will probably spend 12 hours in bed. That’s one way to pass time…
Drinking with friends is not a bad idea. Drinking alone never is.
6/ Find the Sun of a Beach
Get out – out of your room, out of the country. Get outside ‘n look for that sun. My floor-mate went to Spain during the holidays… he found some there.
Since nothing works for me, I just simply MUST leave Sweden at some point during December and get some sun.
I went to Florida with my family and it was glorious!
Here is my mother chasing seagulls. I’m sure she made a lot of “friends” on the beach that day 😛
PS! There is an indoor beach volleyball court in Göteborg we really enjoy going all winter long!