5 tips to survive the winter (the Swedish way)


Written by Lara

07 Feb 2021

It is no secret that Swedish winters can be difficult. It is dark and cold for quite a long time. Your skin will dry, lips turn blue, your fingers will freeze etc…and honestly it can be somewhat depressing, especially during the pandemic when social interactions are limited. However, I would like to share 5 tips with you that helped me survive the winter and made this special season enjoyable! The swedes have it all figured out and after some stalking and curious questioning I was able to put together these 5 winter tips for you!

1. Layers layers layers:

Ask Swedes about the cold and they will tell you that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. As a person coming from the Middle East, not only did I have no idea what kind of clothing they are referring to, but it seemed that they were in denial (since the weather app clearly showed that it’s bad weather). But anyway. Soon enough I discovered that the secret of staying warm (or alive) is stacking layers!

From base layers (they can be made of wool for extra heat) to second layers (usually made out of fleece, “a highly flammable material” an additional information that was given to me by a generous Swede) to third layers. Basically the colder you are, the more layers you add.

And don’t forget the winter jacket! You might look like a polar bear wearing it, but rest assured that the Swedes will always look so elegant and fashionable in it.

Picture showing 3 layers of tops and pants
Layers, layers, layers…/ Photo: Lara

2. Adopt a “mysigt” home:

If you’ve had your birthday in Sweden and have been gifted some candles from your fellow Swedish friends, then you’d understand how important it is to possess candles. During winter, you spend lots of time indoors. During that time you don’t want to sit in a surgical white stressful light (a horrifying thing for a Swede). Instead, you want to make your place as cozy and as comfortable as possible. Run to the concept store today and buy small decorative lights and lamps. Light some candles here and there, and notice the difference. Just be careful so you don’t set your place on fire!

A swede once told me that I need 7 sources of small lights in the same room, so start counting!

Picture showing cozy person with candles and lamp
A “mysigt” home / Photo: Lara

3. Warm beverages

Nothing defrosts your hands like a good warm beverage. Often you will see Swedes carrying thermoses of hot chocolate or coffee, ready to have it at any time!

Keep all these beverages in stock at your house, and don’t forget the Glögg, a Swedish spiced wine that you drink hot during Christmas time. Most importantly, don’t miss out on the Swedish pastries! Whether it’s Semla or Lussebulle, keep yourself updated on the pastry of the season and ask for recommendations for the best bakery in the area. Swedes know their pastries well, even if they look super healthy and slim.

Picture showing cozy person with hot beverage and a pastry
Warm beverages and the pastry of the season /Photo: Lara

4. Enjoy the snow and the daylight

Each season comes with its own fun set of activities: ice skating, skiing, cross country skiing, or simply building a snowman. You will definitely find the best activity for you!

This winter I challenged myself to learn how to ski and I succeeded after falling several times! Next, I plan to learn how to ice-skate.

Taking part in winter activities will make time pass quicker, and before you know it the days will start to be longer and lighter!

Picture showing a person skiing
Winter activities /Photo: Lara

5. Meet your friends for walks

Since you now know the secrets of staying warm, you are ready to spend some time outdoors. Go for walks with your friends, organize some outdoor activities. Grab your thermos and have a hot chocolate together.

Don’t let the cold stop you from socializing and spending some quality time with your fellow classmates! Even if it’s outdoors.

Outdoor meetings /Photo: Lara

These are the 5 tips I have so far to enjoy a long cold winter. Before I moved to Sweden, I was scared to death of the winter. I heard so many stories about the cold and the dark and I didn’t know how I was going to cope with it. But today I feel more prepared, and honestly it’s a dope season if you know how to enjoy it!

Stockholm Old Town
Photo: Ulf Grünbaum/Imagebank.sweden.se

Written by Lara

07 Feb 2021