Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surviving Darkness

Creepy photo taken by my boyfriend.
It's that time of year again... the darkness is here in Sweden. Discussing this dark topic on Halloween only feels fitting, don't you think? Spooky! Since turning the clocks back this past Sunday (we do this a bit earlier than in the States etc.) the sun sets at around 4.30 pm, and it's gradually getting darker and darker until the middle of December when it'll be at it's darkest. (The sun sets at around 2.30 pm in Stockholm, crazy I know.)

Many Swedes get deeply depressed during the dark Fall and Winter seasons and seek out help with coping with this cold and darkness. Most of us go into a sort of hibernation, staying indoors and not being as social as the light filled summer months. So far, living in Sweden for only 5 years, I'm not yet really effected by this (ask me in 20 years). I try to stay positive and enjoy the cozy indoor candle lit months as much as I can. One thing I miss during the summer with the midnight sun, is no romantic candle lit dinners. Somethings are just better enjoyed on dark cold winter evenings, like cozying up in a wooly blanket with a great book and a hot cup of fragrant tea or candle lit dinners for two.

So what are my tips for surviving the long dark cold Swedish Winters?

• I embrase the darkness, and turn it into something cozy rather than scary or depressing.
• Stock up on tons of candles and tea lights. Nothing is more gorgeous than candle light.
• Christmas lights and decorations of course help a lot. I love love love advent stars and lights, they make the entire city glow for the extremely dark month of December. (So it's actually not that dark.) We put them up early and take them down late.
• Having lots of work and new projects to do helps a lot. I think I'm (and the majority of Nordic countries) are most productive during these indoor months, with no gorgeous sunny nice days to distract.
• Drink lots of hot tea. I even enjoy hosting tea parties with lady friends. A great to warm up form the inside.
• I do my errands during the daylight hours, so I get some light. (This is the main problem for working people as they go to work in the morning in the darkness, and leave work for home in the darkness, missing the hours of daylight.)
• Extra many romantic dinners for two. Yes Please.
• Cooking elaborate hearty meals is really nice. (Something dorky like it 'warms the soul.')
• As well as watching lots of cooking shows. (Something about them is so homey and comforting.) I enjoy Nigella and The Little Paris Kitchen.
• Wear light bright colors. (I don't understand Swedes and their all black ensembles, depressing in itself.)

How do you cope with the long dark Winter months?