Here’s a fun fact about me: before coming to Sweden, I had never seen snow. That should tell you about the extent of my experience with harsh winters. Coming to Sweden from a country as warm as India, one of my main concerns was, “how am I going to survive temperatures that go below 0°C?” Now having lived here for 4 months, currently thriving in such temperatures, I’m going to break down exactly what has helped me embrace the Swedish winter.
This is a no-brainer, but it’s appalling how easy it is to forget at times. There’s a famous Swedish proverb that I’ve grown to become fond of, that’s quite fitting in this situation: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Back home in India, a sweater and a jacket would have sufficed if I were to step outside in December. But if you want to pull such stunts here in Sweden, rethink your decision.
A good winter jacket, warm thermal wear, thick scarves and sturdy boots are your best friends during the snowy and cold months here. For a better understanding of clothing in Sweden, you can read this blog by Inika.
Good food, good company
The sun starts to set earlier with each passing day, and as a result it becomes very easy to feel gloomy and unmotivated. In such cases, I cannot stress enough on the importance of finding people you can spend time with. You can go get fika at a cute coffee shop, grab brunch after a harrowing exam (this may or may not have been pulled from personal experience), see the Christmas lights and decorations around the city, host a game night, cook/bake together, organise a movie night, go ice-skating, visit museums, or even just sit in the library and try to study. The possibilities are endless, and spending time with people who make you feel happy is a great distraction from the darkness and cold.
As easy as it is to feel disdain towards the short days and crisp cold, I think your mindset can also play a big role in shaping up your experience with Swedish winters. This is not to promote toxic positivity, but the more you keep focusing on how cold it is, the colder you’ll feel. That’s the case with me, at least. Instead, I try to distract myself from such thoughts. Notice how beautiful everything looks shrouded in white, the Christmas and Advent decorations put up in almost every window, how the city has been decked up for the festivities, the carols, the holiday treats- it’s not that hard to lose yourself in the holiday cheer. After all, it’s not called “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing!
It honestly did not take me too long to get accustomed to the winter in a new country, even though once upon a time even the thought of it was daunting. Maybe I have a better cold-tolerance than I give myself credit for, or maybe I found the coping mechanisms that work for me. Either way, the winter in Sweden has been fun and memorable so far. If, like me, you were/are worried about this, I hope this blog helped ease your mind a little.
Happy holidays, and as always- if you have any questions, you know where to find me!
My name is Naomi, and I am from India. I am a first-year master’s student in Biomedicine. I have always been drawn towards research and knew early on that a career built around it was the one for me. So as a result, here I am! I enjoy spending time with my friends and exploring the city with them (though the introvert in me also loves some alone time). I hope I can be of some help with my blogs!