When I first moved to Sweden, one of the most common questions I was asked was if I’d ever experienced one of Stockholm’s infamous winters.
I’d been lucky enough to visit the city twice before, but both of those visits came in the summer. When I’d shake my head no, I would immediately be warned of the horrors of the cold, the rain, the darkness, and the suboptimal conditions that I would have to live with over the next few weeks and months.
But I took it all with a grain of salt.
Before we moved abroad, I’d spent four years (and another four while in University) living in Ottawa, Canada, a region that routinely saw temperatures plummeting to -35C in winter. So, I wasn’t exactly a stranger to lands of ice and snow.
I figured if I could survive a winter in Ottawa, I could survive a winter anywhere.
The first few weeks that I lived in Stockholm the weather was akin to Ottawa in fall (or Vancouver in fall, winter, spring…) – grey and rainy under full cloud cover. I thought, if the weather stays like this, I’ll have no problems. Even as the temperatures started inching their way towards zero, I remained smug, I got this.
Then Daylight Saving Time hit.
And the sun started to set at 3:15 PM.
That’s when it hit me: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, winterwise.
Winters in Stockholm don’t typically see the extreme temperatures that I’ve experienced in other parts of the world, but they are extreme in their own right. The Darkness, as they refer to it, is very much real and it’s easy to see how experiencing only a few hours of sunlight each day could drive anyone insane.
Thankfully, I’ve found a few key ways to not only survive but to thrive this winter in Sweden.
Continue reading “Five Ways To Survive Winter in Sweden”