A November update: Darkness and “mysigt”

Hej, it’s me again! Probably the worst procrastinator when it comes to updating my blog. I am determined to finish off the semester strong with my posts though, if nothing else for myself to have to look back on.

Over the past few weeks, I have traveled to Tallinn, Estonia on a 36 hour cruise, showed three friends from home highlights of Stockholm in one weekend, and spent Thanksgiving in Nice, France with my brother. Since I don’t want to do another post about traveling or having visitors, here are some highlights in picture form:

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I have 19 days left in Stockholm before I head to Arlanda airport for the final journey of the semester: home. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that yet, so I’m going to save those emotions for a later post. This post is going to be a little dark though (no pun intended).

No…seriously. People told me about the darkness. They warned me it would get bad. They told me to start taking Vitamin D back in August (I already took a multivitamin, and besides, I’m from Minnesota. I can handle Swedish winter). Right? Very wrong. Sure, I can handle how cold it’s gotten here, but the darkness? That’s an entirely different story.

I’m not going to sugar coat it: The sun sets at 3:30pm here. When I leave on December 15th, it should be setting at 2:50pm (if Google’s predictions are correct). If you get up later in the morning like I often do, you’re lucky to see 4 hours of daylight. Many days, the sun doesn’t even come out either – it’s just cloudy and grey all day.

The first week back from my long study tour to Scotland, I really struggled. When we left, we set the clocks back an hour, so coming back was a pretty huge shock for us all. I fell in to a pretty deep spout of depression and had difficulties getting out of bed. But, after reaching out to DIS Care Team and talking with some locals/others struggling, I have started to learn the art of mysigt (Swedish word for a feeling of coziness) and how to make the most of my time left here. Below, I have put together a survival list for Swedish winters.

Leave your apartment

Honestly, every other tip I give can fall under this umbrella. If you’re like me and you enjoy sleeping in on days you don’t have class or field studies, it will be so so easy to want to stay indoors all day watching Netflix, especially when it gets dark at 3pm. But don’t do it. Trust me on this – it makes you feel so much worse. One way I’ve been avoiding this is to make plans ahead of time with people so that you don’t have an excuse not to leave. It can be something as simple as meeting at a café to read or study. This has been especially important for me ever since my core course ended, as I now have Mondays and Thursdays free.

Embrace café and fika culture in Stockholm

Fika has become my savior. I honestly don’t think I’m going to be able to live without it back home. Since I only have about 20 days left with this amazing Swedish invention, I’ve gotten in the habit of doing one or two a day. Sometimes even three (that only has happened twice though). Studying in cafés is a great excuse to take a few fika breaks with friends (pictured below)!

Sunlamps, sunlamps, sunlamps!!

When I reached out to the DIS Care Team during the dark times (again, sorry for the puns), they were nice enough to lend me my own sunlamp for the rest of the semester. I try to do this for about 10-15 minutes every morning, and then again in the afternoon if I’m feeling sluggish. Artificial sunlight is seriously where it’s at, and DIS is nice enough to have a bunch of them for use at school and in the common rooms at most of the housing. Future DIS students: take advantage!

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A flattering picture of me and my sunlamp

Get moving

I’m probably the last person you want to motivate you to go to the gym, because I barely follow my own advice about this. But, what I can say are the days that I force myself to do a workout are the days I feel a lot more energized here. I have motivation to go out and get work done, even if I don’t get myself to the gym until long after the sun sets (better late than never).

I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered the art of finding mysigt here, but I have mastered the art of fika-ing, and at the end of the day, that’s all you really need to get through a harsh Swedish winter! 😉

Vi ses,

Megan

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