Hibernation in Sweden | Undutchables

Hibernation in Sweden

A very common thing we hear all around us now in Sweden is that everybody is complaining about these dark months during the winter time. Most people rather stay at home from November until March but unfortunately, it does not work like that. Many Swedes are less active during the wintertime because of the darkness and also the cold. Everyone would rather want to go into hibernation instead of getting up and going to work. But, the time is simply to long  for that unless you have a lot of money on your bank account.

Now what is hibernation and does it really exist?

Everyone knows that it is pretty exhausting every day when you go to work and it is dark outside. And when you have been working the whole day and you finally go home it is …..dark again. It’s actually pretty normal that you feel less energetic because of the lack of light your body takes in during the day. It’s common knowledge that sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin in your brain. Melatonin is a very fancy word for sleeping hormone and makes you feel extra sleepy, when days are not as long as in the summer. 

Here are some tips to deal with Hibernation.

  • As it is already dark outside, it’s better to put this to good use and make sure you go to bed on time. Many people make the mistake to over plan and do not get their seven to nine hours of sleep. In the summertime when the days are longer, again you can make use of this the other way around and many do so!
  • Use the light during the day more effective. If you work at home, open the curtains all the time. This may sound strange, but is probably one of the reasons why many Swedish home do not have curtains in general. Then it’s a must to go out, for example for a lunch. Not only is it good for the fact that you are exercising your body, but also you can absorb the most sunlight.
  • Make sure you eat food with vitamin D. Sunlight makes our bodies produce vitamin D and by eating vitamin D we help our bodies maintaining the right level during the wintertime. Now this may sound harder than it is. You can find vitamin D in oily fish, butter, meat and other proteins. If you are pickier , you can also turn to vitamin supplements. There is a reason why we see a lot of cabbage and bean products during the winter. Yes, they are full of vitamin D and therefore don’t forget these very nice products.
  • One thing that you should absolutely avoid is to consume sugary products. Sugar in general makes you feel extra fatigue. So try to avoid these as much as possible. It might be a good idea in the beginning, but one’s the sugar starts kicking in , you achieve exactly the opposite. Sorry!!!
  • Yep and here it comes …. Start to exercise! It is known for a fact that exercising gives you energy but also different energy. It is a very effective way to beat hibernation.  Now this can be done in many different ways. The human body needs a minimum of 20 min of exercise per day. Fill it in yourself and you will deal with fatigue much more effective.
  • Only do things that you know will give you energy. This differs from one person to  the other. As said before, exercising might give one person a lot of energy whilst another person would rather prefer to sit on the sofa and watch a movie. The thing here is that you do things that you really WANT to do yourself. Reading a book can also be one. Many people want to do things by themselves and others choose to go out and do something with their children. The key is to know what YOU want to do.
  • And last but not least it might be a good idea to go to the sun on a holiday. It works both ways. You see a lot of the things from above coming back when you are on a holiday but try to stay away from the sugar …….! Now this might not be affordable for everyone but it is also a very effective way to deal with hibernation. 

Yes we can beat this

Ok, to sum things up, it initially comes down to the fact that you have to take extra care of your body during this period of the year. And do not forget that it can be a very interesting time of the year too. It depends on what you make out of it. Yes it is cold, but in other parts of the world,  they are very jealous of the fact that one can ice skate or go skiing here during the winter. And then we have Lucia and Christmas coming up. And one must admit that Christmas with snow, cold, darkness and all of the nice lights everywhere is 10 times more fun than in a desert with 40 degrees Celsius …but I guess that’s a personal preference. 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC ROXFELT
Sweden At Night
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