Staying happy and healthy in Scandinavian winter

originally published February 27, 2019

I moved to the very north of Denmark about half a year ago; the end of August, when autumn was just around the corner and winter wasn't far.

You guys know: I am a summer person through and through! 

Therefore you can imagine how anxious and worried I felt about moving to a country where the winter was supposed to be very dark, cold and gloomy. 

I researched a lot about ways of keeping yourself healthy and happy during the winter months in Scandinavia. While living through it, I  found even more little tricks that you can implement into your daily life to make sure you stay well and enjoy it as much as possible. 

To be honest... it wasn't as bad as I had imagined it to be,

also, I reckon a lot is due to the tips and tricks I am about to share with you.


1. STAY ACTIVE 

I know that when winter comes, all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch, drink hot chocolate and watch 

Netflix. However, to keep yourself balanced, healthy and happy - mentally and physically - exercise is crucial. 

Especially when the sun rises very late in the morning and only stays for a few hours, it is easy to become very lazy and slouchy - don't let the laziness get you! 

Sports induces endorphins in your body which lift your mood and on top of that your blood circulation, detoxification, and metabolism are kicked off and make sure your body stays healthy. 

Another reason why it is essential to stay active is because it makes you leave the house. No matter if you go to yoga, the gym, running, boxing, dancing, climbing, gymnastics, or a walk.  Whatever you do: get going and don't let the darkness fool your body. 


2. GO OUTSIDE ANYWAYS 

This comes in hand with being active. I tried to be outside and breathe fresh air once a day at least for 30 minutes. 

I was forcing myself to ride my bicycle to university every day ( 1h in total), and I honestly feel like that kept me sane. You get in touch with nature and your surroundings, and you are breathing fresh air. 

It is so easy in the winter months to entirely become detached from nature. 

Losing the sense of being grounded and connected enhances anxiety and depression. 

When the sun is up and out: GO OUTSIDE! 

Take a walk to have a breath. 

When it is already dark: Go outside anyways. 

Scandinavian countries are pretty safe, but when you feel scared just invite a friend to come along. 

Expose yourself to fresh air and sunshine whenever you can. 

Have a beach nearby? Enjoy the cold wind and waves! 


3. HEALTHY FOOD 

I believe: you are what you eat! 

With the cold, gloomy weather and Christmas coming up all you want is to indulge in comfort foods and candy. Having fresh meals, vegetables and salads can quickly be forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong! There are time and space for cookies, hot chocolates, and comfort food to nourish your soul.

However, especially in the winter months, it is important to make sure your body gets enough nutrients to keep itself strong and healthy. A leak of nutrients can lead to so many things such as chronic fatigue, depression, weight gain or weight loss, etc.  

TIPS: 

1. An easy fix is buying frozen vegetables. 

They are full of nutrients even when its winter and they are super easy to eat from every meal. 

2. I also like to supplement spirulina and chlorella, or even put some wheat grass powder into my smoothies or muesli in the morning. 

3. Supplementing probiotics is a great tip as well: Happy gut - happy brain. 

( More information here

4. Another game changer for me is taking Zink a few times a week to keep the immune system healthy

( but be careful to not overdose!!!) 

5. Also, drink lemon and ginger tea or water. 

4. HYGGE 

Yes, we got it! 


Being healthy and active is essential for our mental and physical health, but enjoying the HYGGE time is just as important

Buy tons of fairy lights and scatter them all over your apartment,  light up candles in every corner of the room, invite friends over for a movie or tea and play board games, go to cute cafés and cuddle up with a loved one or a friend, go on Christmas markets, or ice skating, check out the Christmas decorations in the stores and just really feel the cozy vibe or the HYGGE winter life in Scandinavia. 

HYGGE will light the sun inside of you. 

5. VITAMIN D 

When I moved here, EVERYBODY was telling me to take vitamin D, and best already start supplementing it by the end of September.

I use Nature Love vitamin D3

I am very happy with it! 

Moreover, I would recommend it to everybody who lives in a country with dark winter months - It is a game changer. 

This danish winter, though it was the darkest of all winters I have experienced yet, I had the least signs of winter depression and wanderlust. 

6. DAYLIGHT LAMP

The lamp works similar to supplementing vitamin D. 

Just do whichever way works better for you. 

I liked to use both. 

When I studied at home, I was placing the lamp somewhat close to my face and just sat in front of it while working and reading for about half an hour to an hour. 

Sometimes I would wear sunglasses haha. 

When using it regularly, I could feel how my body was loving it and how I started craving the feeling of being awake after sitting in front of it. 

I was lucky and got mine as a gift but here are some that are similar to the one I use. 

7. INDOOR ACTIVITIES 

When it gets gloomy and cold outside I told you to force yourself still to go out but finding indoor activities that are fun makes life more active and social: 

Swimming, board games, indoor climbing, escape rooms, cinema, indoor trampolines, bowling, going for coffee or a drink, yoga, having nights in with friends - you get the idea. 

Check out the city you are living in and go for it.  

8. SAUNA 

This might not be a necessity, and not everybody loves it, but my boyfriend and I loved going to a sauna every now and then. It gets your blood circulation moving, warms you from the inside out and feels so relaxing and cozy.

On top of that, it is a scandi thing to do. 

9. CHECK YOUR THYROID 

I am not a doctor but I cam across this 

 just shortly because it turned out that my boyfriend got affected by its thyroid severely.

Thyroids are an essential part of your bodies health.

They basically control a large part of your hormones. When your thyroid isn't working correctly many very uncomfortable symptoms are following. 

It turned out that thyroids are very sensitive to daylight exposure. 

I have witnessed quite a few people in my surroundings starting to have problems with their thyroid when moving to a country that has very little daylight in the winter. When you know, you could be prone to thyroid over or under functioning. Get it checked more often.

When you are starting to have weird symptoms such as weight gain, weight loss, depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart racing, fatigue, a pale puffy face and many others, try and go the doctor and let them check your blood (thyroid levels). 

I hope this could help anyone who is moving to Scandinavia and is worried, just as I was. 

Now, let's be excited about spring! 

Love you all lots 

pauline 


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