• Sweden edition
 
WINTER IN SWEDEN
How to beat back the Swedish winter blues
John_DL/Flickr; Jerry MagnuM Porsbjer/Wikipedia; Stephanie Hofschlaeger/sxc.hu

How to beat back the Swedish winter blues

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Snake hunt after man claims playground bite
The Swedish adder. Photo: Piet Spaans

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite

A man claimed to have been bitten by a poisonous snake at a paddling pool in Gothenburg on Thursday prompting a hunt which ended without a trace of the offending reptile. READ  

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'
Swedish girls in Stockholm. Photo: Susanne Walström/Imagebank Sweden

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'

Following a Nordic survey in which Swedes were voted the "most attractive", The Local hit the streets to see what Stockholmers thought. READ  

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat
Norwegian police car at Oslo Gardemoen Airport. Photo: TT

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat

The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) have said that an "imminent terror threat" to neighbouring Norway doesn't yet affect Sweden although developments are being closely followed. READ  

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
The Blomdahl family in Berlin. Photo: Private

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin

Edvin Blomdahl is seven-years-old. He also cycled from Sweden to Berlin, a journey of 370 kilometres, in four days. READ  

Opinion
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Demonstrations at Sergels Torg in Stockholm. Photo: Kent Vilhelmsson

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'

As the rhetoric rises at demonstrations in Swedish cities, Stockholm-based Israeli writer David Stavrou calls on Swedes to think before they shout and to cast a critical eye over much that is written and said about the conflict in Gaza. READ  

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden
The vintage tractor ready to travel from UK to north Norway. Photo: Peter Matheson

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden

A British man is set next month to drive from Scotland, across Sweden, and to the northern tip of Norway on a vintage tractor to raise money for a cancer charity. READ  

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'
This canine friend is not amused. Photo: TT

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'

Swedish weather agency SMHI has raised its weather warning to class 2, giving notice of "extremely high temperatures" in parts of the country. READ  

Songs for a hot Swedish summer
Ted Gärdestad. Photo: TT

Songs for a hot Swedish summer

Contributor Paul Connolly has put together a list of Swedish songs to capture balmy summer days, which in his neck of the northern woods are pushing the mercury above 35c for the first time in a century. READ  

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun
Photo: TT

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun

Stockholm's local traffic authority has received almost 300 complaints since June 1st with many regarding stifling heat on the city's buses, which lack air con. READ  

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv

UPDATE: About 270 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm are still stranded in Tel Aviv, and airlines have stated that flights will likely be grounded on Thursday as well. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
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

710
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
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:
http://psdmedia.se