It’s that time of year again…

Groke_3

…Winter depression!!

I included a picture of the Groke from The Moomins as she is supposed to be a physical embodiment of winter depression, spreading ice and fear wherever she goes. And fittingly she is the most terrifying god damned thing ever seen in a kid’s show. See the way she just sits there and stares in that picture? That’s pretty much all she ever does.

Many people born and raised in Finland don’t seem to get winter depression but since I’m still new here, I’ve had it for two years in a row now. When I first visited my fiancee, back when he was my boyfriend, in the winter, I would get it even worse. Only an hour after getting up I would want to go back to sleep again.

The trouble is that there are so few hours of daylight that it makes me feel lethargic and it is difficult to become motivated to work or concentrate. But because I’m feeling so tired and because it’s so dark and gloomy, it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning so I end up sleeping in through what little daylight there is.

I have been doing a few things to try and combat it and they seem to be working for now. I switch on a lamp for a while after it gets dark to give the illusion of sunlight. I try to get up earlier to make the most of the sunlight and go out for walks if I can’t.

There is also a process that the Dutch call ‘hygee’. It’s difficult to describe because it doesn’t have a direct English translation. The closest we can get is ‘cosiness’, creating a warm atmosphere and doing things to make yourself feel better. Blankets, candles, books. All the things that Tumblr obsesses over and claims are best for self care.

It seems strange because you think ‘don’t we try to feel good all the time anyway?’ If so, how come Denmark is the happiest nation on Earth and the British are a bunch of miserable bastards? Many British people associate winter with bad things – the built up stress of Christmas, debt in January, and snow days causing travel chaos. Perhaps it is because Britian has a ‘binge then purge’ attitude. It’s normal for us to stuff ourselves over Christmas then desperately try to lose weight in the New Year. Hygee says ‘just keep eating that chocolate if it makes you feel good’. We’re obviously not doing things right.

I’m going to continue spending the winter living like I’m in a greetings card and see if it really works. If it does, I’ll have enough energy to continue working throughout the winter.

Advertisements

Christmas in Finland

I’ve been lucky to spend this Christmas season in Finland for the first time. In the past I’ve spent New Year’s and Midsummer in Finland a few times but Christmas was a first. My fiancee and I went to stay with his parents in Joensuu, which is much farther North than Turku and has a lot more snow.

I was a lot more excited about it than he was.

I was a lot more excited about it than he was.

It wasn’t that much different than Christmas in Britain, except that we had dinner and presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. I found this a little strange as there was nothing special to do on Christmas Day than laze around. I decided to go out for a walk, like people always talk about doing. It was minus 15 Celsius but I got some great pictures.

You can see the full set of them here, but these are some choice ones:

DSCF3224

I call these snow hedgehogs.

I call these snow hedgehogs.

Yes, I played on the swing even though it was covered in snow.

Yes, I played on the swing even though it was covered in snow.

A few days after Christmas we went to see my in-laws new summer cottage. Well, I say summer cottage…

DSCF3244

It’s being renovated right now but by summer time we should be able to visit and enjoy some fishing, swimming and barbecue.

The house is located on an island which literally translates to ‘moose island’ which is part of a remote archipelago accessed by a ferry.

DSCF3236

It was the first time I’ve stepped on an ice covered lake and I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. I was worried I’d suffer the same fate as Lester Nygaard in Fargo. But I don’t think I’ll be going ice fishing any time soon.

DSCF3267

 

It’s been nice to have a break but I also want to get back home and start writing again so I can earn some money for a trip to visit the UK. 2014 has been a huge year for me with getting engaged, becoming a published writer and moving abroad so I hope to do even more in 2015. There’s a lot more I want to do with this blog, including making video posts, so I’ll be back soon.