It’s no secret that the Swedish winters can get pretty tough😅 With days getting shorter and temperature dropping lower, a lot of students find it difficult to keep their mood up. Even though the lack of sun can feel daunting, there are multiple things you can do to fight the winter blues. Lets jump right in!
1. Make most of the daylight sun☀️
First and foremost, make sure your vitamin D levels are up! One of the ways you can do this is by going on daily walks. They don’t have to be long – 15 minutes are already better than nothing. There are nice areas around campus such as Hagaparken where you can go on a little stroll with friends. Socializing can also be a great way to distract you from the cold and boost your serotonin levels. Also, don’t forget to start taking your vitamin D in early September! Many people forget that it can take months before your body can properly absorb vitamin D.
2. Explore Stockholm✨
Although the cold and dark weather might tempt you to grab a cup of tea and watch a movie at home, don’t let it trick you into missing out on some of the most beautiful experiences! Stockholm meets winter with adorable Christmas markets and bright city lights. Sometimes grabbing a hot chocolate and strolling around colorful winter decorations is enough to flip your mood completely. One of Stockholm’s most popular Christmas markets dates back to 1903 and is in an area called Skansen. The Skansen Christmas market is famous for its winter lights, traditional choirs, and historic huts that invite you to experience authentic Swedish winter spirit. The homemade food and drinks as well as locally produced handicrafts and souvenirs create an enchanting atmosphere that makes you want to stay longer!
Image credit: Fausta Petrauskaite
Image credit: Fausta Petrauskaite
3. Plan trips with friends around Sweden🗺️
Although Stockholm is lovely, it’s easy to forget that there is more to Sweden than Stockholm. Instead of escaping the cold and staying in, embrace it! I have booked cabins with friends and family in various locations all over Sweden that have always been a great experience offering stunning views and adventurous hikes. A Lot of my friends have also taken the train to Kiruna and stayed in a hostel for a few nights to see the legendary Northern Lights! I have not been there myself, but it is definitely a must-do. Another bucket list location for skiers is Åre. Åre is one of the leading ski resorts in Scandinavia and is definitely worth the visit for adventurers! If you are not someone who enjoys lengthy car or bus rides, there are plenty of places you can explore closer to Stockholm. Some of the most popular places to visit that are within a 45 minute distance include the enchanting city of Uppsala, the beautiful Tyresta park, and the charming surrounding islands of Stockholm.
4. Form social traditions🌈
Forming small happy habits with friends really helped me combat winter loneliness by providing me with something to look forward to every week. For example, two of my friends and I take turns making dinner on Wednesdays, turning a regular work day into a mid-week milestone. Two days later, we have Fika Fridays where we grab an afternoon coffee and plan the weekend over Swedish pastries like Kanelbulle and Semla. Sundays are for strolling around Hagaparken, where I love stopping in coffee stops to plan the week ahead. These habits not only add color to my Stockholm experience but also remind me of all the things to be grateful for in a new city with a new family of friends.
5. Familiarise with the sauna culture🧖🏽♀️
The Swedish sauna is famous for a reason! The winter is a great time to book a sauna on the lake and try out this quite ritualistic experience. The best part is that there are many saunas around Stockholm that offer booking services on weekends. Some of my friends do this at least 4 times a month – it’s a fun and soothing experience that almost feels like an achievement! At first It can seem quite challenging to take a dip into a freezing lake, but the hot sauna makes the experience pleasant. If you don’t feel like that’s something you’d be interested in, most gyms have saunas where you can have a less extreme experience and simply enjoy a soothing sauna after a nice workout at the gym.
The best way to make things better is to have something to look forward to. That’s why I like to see the winter break as a milestone between winter and summer. You can use the first half to familiarize with the Swedish winter and the second half to explore all it has to offer. Winters in Sweden are longer than summers, so it’s important to make the most of it. You’ll find it’s easy to fall in love with🥰❄️
My name is Fausta. I am originally from Lithuania, but spent most of my life in Canada, so the Swedish winters do not scare me! I’m the blogger for the Master’s Programme in Bioentrepreneurship here at Karolinska Institutet. I am also a camping enthusiast and a huge fan of exploring new hidden cafés to visit in Stockholm. I am excited to share my experiences and adventures in Sweden and hopefully provide some useful tips and tricks!