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Getting ready for a long winter

Photographs: Unsplash

Text: Ophelia Wu

Falling leaves, crispy wind and shorter days are all so romantic, but it’s also a reminder of winter slowly creeping in. So as you admire the beautiful green leaves turning red and golden, you might as well mentally prepare for another long winter.

For someone coming from Asia, despite having lived in Europe for over 15 years, when the genetics don’t agree with the weather, there really is nothing one can do. Also, winter depression is real. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to how to survive or thrive during winter - it doesn’t matter how much you love or hate it - at some point, it is just too cold to manage. But some suggestions could help a little, just making life a little easier to navigate.

#1 Mentally accept and prepare

This sounds stupid, but the first thing to everything in life, I would argue, is acceptance. There is no point fighting against it and counteract it, especially nature - what can you do? Accepting and mentally preparing for it gives a placebo effect and some sense of knowing what’s coming along.

#2 Time for a hobby

As expats, one of the biggest frustrations for some is meeting new people and creating a social circle. Signing up for something now can build a routine, make new friends, and gives you something to look forward to regularly. When you’ve made acquaintances and met new people in these places, it is more motivating for you to leave home in the cold weather and go to classes. In that way, it keeps your lifestyle moving and exciting. We all know that feeling of reluctance to leave home when it’s -20C outside.

"There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to how to survive or thrive during winter. It doesn’t matter how much you love or hate it - at some point, it is just too cold to manage."

#3 Exercise and keep moving

The many benefits of regular exercise have been researched and documented. Keeping the body moving throughout winter benefits you physically, mentally, and emotionally. For those who bike, that daily dosage of exercise wakes up the body and blood circulation; for those who don’t, it kick-starts the flow of energy in the body. Not only does it removes that stagnation, but it is also meditative when you exercise, clearing thoughts in your head and boosting your mood. If you struggle to fit it into your routine or get started, find something you enjoy doing or have always wanted to try.

#4 Maintain healthy eating

Nourishing your body with proper food is so underrated. When you feel your body is looked after, it gives you a sense of security that you know your body is in balance. Eating properly doesn’t always mean organic - it could be seasonal. Eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, reduce alcohol intake etc… Whatever your body needs, it will tell you.

#5 Soak in Vitamin D

As the days get shorter, soak in as much Vitamin D as possible. Whenever there’s sun, go for a walk, and be in the sunlight as much as possible. If a natural light lamp helps, get one.

#6 Plan a little holiday

Getting away to a warm destination could be a great quick-fix solution.

We are all different, so whatever works for you to make the winter season more manageable is your best solution. I believe being prepared will set a good mood while enjoying the hyggeligt season, in and outdoors, and of course, don’t forget those candles!

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