I’ve already written about how funny it is that a routine can create so easily in a new place, how things that were once strange are now normal (A Scandinavian routine (and November thoughts)). And my colleagues have mentioned the growing darkness and how to fight it (How to survive November’, Winter is Coming…).
I’ve definitely felt the darkness. I know everyone tells you this, that moving to Sweden means it is darker, colder, and to expect lots of snow in the winter. As a Canadian, I brushed this off. I mean, I grew up with winter. I’m used to cold and ice and having snow days (when school is optional because it is too dangerous to have that many school buses on the road). I can skate, ski, and spend 5 out of the 6 months of winter complaining about the weather (talking about the weather is a Canadian AND Scandinavian thing apparently). So Swedish winter? Bring it, I said.
And then I regretted that sentence 😦 Note: Having darkness set in at 3pm is no laughing matter. And this coming from a Canadian!!
But getting over the increasing cold, the frost on the ground, and the growing darkness is an important part to being productive and doing some school work. We in global health are in the last week of our module on infectious diseases and have a large group project and an exam to look forward to this week. Needless to say we have been busy and it has been tough to motivate myself to work, let alone school related work. I have even fallen behind on blogs (!!) since I’ve felt like I haven’t done anything of interest these past few weeks. My time is mostly devoted to school, working on school assignments, eating, and sleeping. I’ve even fallen behind in my gym routine!! Gah.
So when I woke up this morning to sun, you can imagine I did a little dance around the house. Well actually I continue to dance around the house, I’m bouncing in my chair as I’m writing this!! The way to surviving the darkness and the amount of schoolwork that is left until Christmas (in one month!!) is to take advantage of the moments during the day where there IS light and to still try and continue doing normal things in the afternoon/evening even though your body thinks it is midnight.
And it’s funny how it is the little things that keep you goin. Today’s survival tools have been sun, laundry (making things cleaner and brighter make me happy!), a berry smoothie (again along the lines of bright and happy, Sweden has a great selection of berries during the summer and freezes them to eat during the winter so perhaps just maybe you can remember that winter does end and summer does poke its head out in the future), and some good tunes. Simple, right? It is! So I hope you can do the same to shake this cold and impending winter gloom.
So I may have been slightly over-confident in my thinking that the dark wouldn’t affect me. We have dark in Canada too, but this is definitely different. There is just something so de-motivating about going home after class in the PITCH dark. It definitely makes you want to do absolutely nothing when you get home…which is usually what I do 😦 So, although I’m sure I’m repeating my friends’ advice here, the key to surviving the darkness is to keep your normal routine. Make sure to make activities at night so that you still do something after 3pm. I’ve started bringing my gym stuff with me to school (which is a bit of a pain but worth it) and then I have it with me and therefore there is very little excuse to go home and all of the reasons in the world to continue to the gym BEFORE going home, where my warm bed and soft lights call my name. Invest in some more lights in your room or at least brighter bulbs and close those blinds!! A sunny oasis can be easily faked. Also take advantage of the time you DO have where it isn’t dark. Today’s study day will definitely include a nice long run! That fresh air does magical things, I tell ya.
Oh and bounce around to this, it will help!