• 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
Spring budget
Petrol to cost more as Greens get their way
Social Democrat Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and her Green Party deputy Per Bolund at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT.

Petrol to cost more as Greens get their way

Sweden's left-wing government proposed a hike in petrol taxes on Friday, citing the drop in oil prices and pressure put on it by its coalition partner the Greens. READ  

Swedish Nobel laureate Tranströmer dies aged  83
Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Swedish Nobel laureate Tranströmer dies aged 83

UPDATED: Swedish poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Tomas Tranströmer has passed away at the age of 83, his publishers confirmed on Friday. READ  

Sweden Democrat head: 'I'm on antidepressants'
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson before his sick leave. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Sweden Democrat head: 'I'm on antidepressants'

Jimmie Åkesson, who is poised to return as leader of Sweden's nationalist party in April after months of sick leave, has revealed he is taking antidepressants for exhaustion and sleeping difficulties in an interview set to air late on Friday. READ  

Is Swedish super coach Pia Sundhage quitting?
Pia Sundhage, left, celebrating after Sweden beats Scotland in the World Cup qualifier. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Is Swedish super coach Pia Sundhage quitting?

Swedish football coach Pia Sundhage's contract leading the women's national team runs out next year. And she has not yet made up her mind as to whether or not she wants to stay on. “If they asked me today, I would say no,” she told The Local on Friday. READ  

Stieg Larsson's partner blasts trilogy sequel
Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg Larsson's former partner. Photo: TT

Stieg Larsson's partner blasts trilogy sequel

The partner of Sweden's best-known contempory author Stieg Larsson has criticised the decision to publish a fourth installment of his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, written by another author. READ  

Ikea flat-pack shelters set to house refugees
Ikea flat-pack shelters will be delivered to refugee camps. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Ikea flat-pack shelters set to house refugees

Flat-pack shelters produced by Swedish furniture giant Ikea are set to provide temporary homes to thousands of refugees in camps around the world. READ  

Swedish PM faces rights pressure in China
Sweden's PM Stefan Löfven talks to reporters outside the Swedish Embassy in Beijing. Photo: Karin Olander/TT

Swedish PM faces rights pressure in China

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven landed in China on Friday for a two-day visit. But on the home front he has been facing pressure to push more to get human rights on the agenda when he meets with Chinese leaders. READ  

The Local Recipes
How to Make Chocolate Truffles for Easter
Chocolate Truffles. Photo: John Duxbury

How to Make Chocolate Truffles for Easter

If you are looking for a fun alternative to Easter eggs, why not try Swedish chocolate truffles. They are delicious, easy to make and kids can help you make these delightful sweets. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local. READ  

Homeless to 'skip' long rental queues in capital
There is a long queue for housing in Stockholm. Photo: Image Bank Sweden

Homeless to 'skip' long rental queues in capital

Some of Stockholm's homeless population are set to be offered permanent accommodation in the city centre, as part of efforts to help them reintegrate into society. But the move is a highly controversial one in the capital where there is a long queue for first hand rental contracts among tax-paying residents. READ  

Nine more jailed for Stockholm Nazi attack
Police in Kärrtorp in December 2013. Photo: TT

Nine more jailed for Stockholm Nazi attack

Prison sentences of between three and eight months have been handed down to nine men involved in a neo-Nazi demonstration in Stockholm in 2013. Swedish courts have already punished fourteen others for their role in the brutal violence. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm is the 'Boston of Europe'
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Blog updates

27 March

Celebrating Three Great English Exports In 2015 (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Deputy Head of Mission Aidan Liddle joins us for another guest blog today. In 2015, England..." READ »

 

27 March

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

"Hi readers, Europe remains in shock following the Germanwings plane crash in the Alps that killed 150..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
National
Neo-Nazi activity rising in Sweden
National
How to make Swedish Waffles
Gallery
Property of the week: Torslanda - Hjuvik
National
Stray dog Arthur moves in with Swedish owners
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
National
Sweden triples maximum limit at asylum centres
Gallery
People-watching: March 21st
National
Why elderly Swedes are among the world's happiest people
National
TIMELINE: Gothenburg shootings
National
Can Sweden's feminist party score success in neighbouring Norway?
National
Why Brits can't get enough of Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's solar eclipse
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Royal wedding countdown begins
National
Viking ring reveals Islamic ties
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: March 18th
National
One in three Russian diplomats are spies, says Sweden's Security Service
National
Hitchcock opera set to hit Gothenburg stage
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Northern Lights on show across Sweden
Technology
Why Swedish pop star Robyn is pushing for more girls in tech
Gallery
Property of the week: Umeå
National
Introducing Sweden's Eurovision 2015 entry Måns Zelmerlöw
Gallery
People-watching: March 13th - 15th
National
Why have Swedish prosecutors made a U-turn in Julian Assange case?
Sponsored Article
How Sweden and India can work together
Politics
Who's the new young leader of the Christian Democrats?
Travel
Why are Swedes so obsessed with Mallorca?
Gallery
Princess Estelle celebrates her mother's name day in Stockholm
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Obama's anti-Semitism team heads to Stockholm and Malmö
Gallery
People-watching: March 11th
Technology
How a Swedish app is teaching children to empathize
Swedish grandparents put on disguises to snatch baby
National
Why Sweden may not be as gender equal as you think
Politics
Why does Russia blame Sweden for the crisis in Ukraine?
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen
National
Listen to the English remix of a Swedish 'genitals' song gone viral
Technology
'Swedish women are strong and ambitious'
National
Why are 11 Roma people suing the Swedish state?
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Sweden
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

3,482
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