POLAR NIGHTS – Tips for surviving

by Julia Räsänen, degree student in Media

A snow covered field and a barn in fog

A sunny day in January 2014.

As many of you might know, winter in Finland can be quite rough, especially for someone who’s not used to snow and freezing weather. I don’t mind that much about the cold weather (as long as I’m not forced to spend my time outside, of course), but it’s the lack of daylight that really bothers me.

It’s not overstating if someone tells you that during October-February you won’t see the sun at all in Finland. Even though the sun might be shining for a few hours in the midday, it’s usually so cloudy or rainy that it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

The period of polar night can trigger winter depression in some people, including myself. These tips might come in handy, if you feel like the darkness is putting you down!

  1. Remember to eat healthy. I bet this comes as no surprise. Also taking some extra vitamins isn’t a bad idea. Paying attention to how much D-vitamin you’re getting is important, since you’re not getting that from the sunlight. Fish oil capsules are also recommended.
  2. Sleep well. Accept that you might need more sleep during the winter season than usually. Make yourself a nice cup of tea, get cosy and take a little nap. At least I’m a nicer person when I get enough sleep.
Candles burning on a metal plate on the table in the darknes

Taking it easy with some candles and glögi (which is a spiced beverage we Finns drink during the Christmas time. It’s also worth trying!)

  1. Stop talking about the weather, even though it’s the most common and obvious topic for small talk in Finland. Everyone knows it’s cold and shitty, so why saying it out loud and make your mood even lower.
  2. Don’t get too wasted in the pre-Christmas party. (Or do, but keep in mind that everything seems even more depressing when you’re hangover)
  3. Don’t isolate yourself. Human is a social animal, you know, and dwelling by yourself in that bad mood doesn’t necessarily help. Go to that pre-Christmas party, have a movie night with a friend and wrap yourself in blankets, sit under a bright lamp and imagine you’re lying on a beach.

And if none of this seem to work, don’t worry; winter lasts only 6 months in Finland, so it’ll be over soon!

[Disclaimer: these tips are collected from various internet sites, so I can’t promise if they work or not.]