Sweden. Country of quiet lakes, majestic forests and solidarity. I like it here, quite a lot. Time flies and it’s already my second winter up North. Last year I loved every little piece of winter. Lots of snow, ice to skate on, my super cool winter bike tires, and if you were lucky you might spot a sight of the Northern lights. Maybe it’s because it’s not new or maybe I haven’t taken my vitamine D pills regularly enough, but truth is that winter feels more like a struggle to me this time. And I’m not alone in this. Last winter I had several friends telling me they felt winter was kind of ‘heavy’ on them. I just did not understand – yet. To prevent you from being affected by the Winter-blues I’d like to share some piece of advice.
- Go outside – no matter the temperature
Sun is your best friend. However, Sun does not pay very long nor intense visits during winter in Uppsala. Therefore you should try to grab every opportunity there is to say hello to her. Don’t get intimidated by thermostats saying it’s minus ten degrees Celsius or something worse. How cold it truly feels depends on many things as humidity, wind speed and sun intensity. Try to go outside each day. There ain’t no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! A good way to get your daily minimum of sunlight is to grab the bike to SLU.
Comic by Owlturd
- Take vitamin D supplements seriously
Because honestly, no matter how much time you spend on trying to reconnect with your old friend Sun, your relation will be a long-distance one and your body will long for more. Drinking is not going to fix your depression, but vitamin D may! You can find them in your nearest Apoteket, no prescription needed.
- Share your suffering
I am not saying you should complain about the weather or lack of daylight on a daily basis, but it might be relieving to hear you’re not the only one struggling. Good chances many of your friends and classmates feel a little ‘under the weather’ and could use some extra happiness as well. So don’t lock yourself up in your room waiting for Sun to come back, but go to the Nations for a drink or host a dinner and don’t avoid serious conversations if they pop up. Sharing is caring.
“In Uppsala the question is not if there’s something fun to do, but rather which cool activity to choose?”
- Focus on things that make you happy
It sounds a little cheesy, I know. Though you should think about it! As you will find yourself spending more time at home you may as well do something you always wanted to do, but never had the time for. Like playing guitar or improving your drawing skills. No inspiration? Go find a new hobby! There are numerous things to do or experience in Uppsala. Try out all the classes offered at your local gym, learn a new game at a Nation‘s boardgame night or find out if you like latin dancing. In Uppsala the question is not if there’s something fun to do, but rather which cool activity to choose?
- Invite your friends from outside Sweden
Do you remember this feeling you get during your first days in a new place? Everything looks amazing and you’re out exploring new sights every day. Ideally you stay in love with your city forever, but at some point the honeymoon effect might disappear. No worries! Just invite some friends over and show them around and do all the touristy things you had forgotten about. I bet you that spending time wandering around Uppsala’s Domkyrka, Slott and Fyrisån will bring back the magic. Especially since your friends will see all of it for the first time, their enthusiasm is going to be contagious, promised. Plus nothing warms the heart like seeing an old friend, so it will be a win-win.
I hope this list is helpful to you. If you have any additional advice, questions or would like to share your own experiences you can always reply below. And please, don’t let the idea of a real winter keep you from studying here. It’s a great experience to walk through a winter wonderland or spend time on a frozen lake. And if you at some point find out you get affected by the Winter-blues, then keep in mind it’s all temporary. Spring is on the doorstep 🙂