• Sweden's news in English
 

How to beat back the Swedish winter blues

Published: 20 Dec 2011 11:37 GMT+01:00

The trees have been stripped bare of their leaves, it's cold, and the clocks have gone back.

And it’s dark. Very dark.

It's at this time of year that some of us begin to wonder, with some justification, why on earth we live in Sweden.

Living in northern latitudes means that, by mid-December, there is approximately two hours' less light in Stockholm compared to, say, London or Brussels.

But if you think the light situation in the capital or the south of Sweden is bad, spare a thought for the very far north of the country where, above the Arctic Circle, residents may not see the sun for two months.

The winter gloom can be hard to deal with – for Swedes and foreigners alike.

Click here to have a look at a few ways to help keep the mid-winter blues at bay.

Experts calculate that up to one in five of the Swedish population suffers – in varying degrees – from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), linked to the absence of sufficient sunlight.

The symptoms include depression, listlessness and general inertia – a feeling of being considerably more tired – and grumpy – than usual.

Other indicators may include a diminished sex drive and disturbed appetite.

And while incurable optimists genetically predisposed to year-round cheerfulness might laugh at us “SAD-dies”, it is recognized as a genuine medical condition, which may also be further aggravated by stress and can be hereditary.

But don't despair, there are steps we can take to help us cope with so-called vinterdepression.

Related links:

Alec Forss (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

12:46 December 20, 2011 by Eagle63
It's actually very simple; every winter we travel to Florida for some time; great weather usually in Dec, Jan & Feb.

Looking forward to that warm and sunny break from the cold dark winter makes it all bearable...
13:35 December 20, 2011 by Rishonim
Where are those tips from Alec?? I could you them right about now..
13:54 December 20, 2011 by spo10
The "SAD-dies" would be even more sad and depressed with this term. :D
18:15 December 20, 2011 by rybo1
Well, one of the suggestions to alleviate the winter doldrums, was to escape to Thailand or some wonderfully, sunny and warm place. A good idea for those with the means to do so. But, I don't think it would go well with those who don't have the means to do so or the homeless. Bottom line: a very poor suggestion. Me, I'm staying here and shoveling the F"#¤&/g driveway!
19:20 December 20, 2011 by Steggles
It's too early for me to comment but I am really enjoying this my first ever snow & first winter in Sweden.

Beats days of extreme heat back home down under in Adelaide like the forecast for 36c on this coming christmas day! Not nice at all.
23:08 December 20, 2011 by wxman
Observation: to beat back the Swedish winter blues, the feet are clearly in the wrong position to achieve this state.
00:07 December 21, 2011 by matona1
we export sun from africa they are tired of the sun there
16:28 December 23, 2011 by tadchem
Sunlight. To be precise, Ultraviolet-A (400 nm-315 nm) stimulates synthesis of Vitamin-D in the skin and, more importantly, melatonin in the retina (directly connected to the brain via the optic nerve). The melatonin keeps the circadian rhythyms synchronized and mitigates SAD.

During the winter you should try to see daylight *without* sunglasses as much as possible.
17:47 December 25, 2011 by Dan in Halmstad
This is my first winter in Sweden and I am doing great. In fact, I am adapting better than my Swedish wife. Of course, way down south the days are still nearly 7 hours long but until I started taking Vitamin D, at least 5000 units a day, I was starting to feel it even way back in September. In addition to everything else suggested, get your vitamin D levels tested and get on a program to raise them or maintain them. Vitamin D apparently affects thousands of genes and lack of it probably plays a big part in winter doldrums.
16:50 January 3, 2012 by itsspideyman
I spent a wonderful Christmas in Sweden with my fiance and her family. Got there on December 24th, watch Disney in the afternoon, opened presents, and attended services on Christmas Day (in Polish no less!). I come from Louisiana and was fascinated to see the sun never get above the 2 O'Clock position in the sky.

I found you have a great ability to cope, surrounded by friends, strong coffee (from Louisiana I love it), and stronger spirits (see Louisiana)! I am now back home where it's 23 degrees Celcius, with the sun high in the sky, remembering my marvelous days in Sweden.
Today's headlines
Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat
Photo: TT

Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat

Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against US tech giant Apple claiming that its technology was used in iPhones and other wireless devices despite a lapsed licencing agreement. READ  

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest
Photo: TT

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest

Up to a 1000 Swedes turned out to form a human shield around Stockholm's synagogue on Friday as a protest against extremism. Here are some images from the event. READ  

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest
Photo: TT

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest

A human shield of up to a 1000 Swedes staged a protest against extremism outside the Stockholm synagogue Friday in response to the Copenhagen shootings earlier this month in which two people died. READ  

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,007
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se