• 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)

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
Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

Science
Asteroids leave mark on Sweden
Astroids can leave marks like these. Photo: TT

Asteroids leave mark on Sweden

Some 458 million years ago, Earth was whacked in a double asteroid strike, leaving craters visible in Sweden today, space scientists have reported. READ  

New coalition
New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Green Party leader Åsa Romson. Photo: TT

New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget

UPDATED: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrat-led coalition has revealed its first budget proposal, listing plans to spend more than 20 billion kronor. READ  

Royal family
Swedish royal couple set wedding date
The couple pictured in the summer. Photo: TT

Swedish royal couple set wedding date

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, who got engaged earlier this year, have announced they will marry next June. READ  

Analysis
Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'

There is talk that the nationalist Sweden Democrats could trigger a fresh election, by rejecting the new coalition's budget. But leading Political Scientist Li Bennich Björkman tells The Local that the party is just game-playing and should be focusing on getting its fatigued leader back. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Chocolate and liquorice are on the menu in Gothenburg this weekend. Photo: Shutterstock

What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st

A secret gig in Stockholm, a short film festival in Uppsala and a gastronomy event in Gothenburg have caught our eye this week. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

979
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
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
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