The impact of darkness during Finland’s long winters can be quite severe. As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, people prefer to spend their time inside waiting for spring to come. This article presents some hacks on how to overcome the negative effect of this time.

During the winter in Finland, the sun might appear for fewer than 7 hours (from 8:30 to 15:30), which means that people often leave their homes for work in darkness, and come home in darkness too.
While this situation certainly affects Finnish people, foreigners may suffer even more if they come from countries where the sun never stops shining. The most common symptoms are anxiety, drowsiness, constant change of the mood, etc. People literally hibernate while looking forward to spring!
In this article, several Finland University ambassadors share their personal experiences and top three hacks on how to survive the Finnish darkness!

Daria Chikunova

Playing ukulele

Find a new hobby. Or just something that can distract you from being lazy and drowsy during the Finnish winter. For instance, I have started to play the ukulele, without previous musical education. My first attempts were terrible, but daily practice contributed to a good cause: it is an incredible joy to play my favourite melodies on my own! It took me hours to practice, but very dark days passed so fast, and before I realized it the spring had come.

Do sport. For me personally, bouldering, gym and the swimming pool always help to cheer me up on cold and dark days. As a bonus, you get a healthy body, a productive attitude and a positive mind-set!

Light up your room with decorations & read inspirational books. A good book is always a best friend in fighting against adverse external factors, and it’s a wise use of your time.

Light up a roomInspirational books


Jayaruwan Gunathilake

Finnish sunsetAdd food supplements. Take vitamins to comfort your body and strengthen your immune system.

Reorganize the day. Schedule your classes during dark hours (early mornings or late evenings), so that you can enjoy the sun while it's out.

Cheer up. Have lots of hot energizing coffee!

Bonus: think about the summer when it's light out particularly 24/7!


Uyen Nguyen

Check out weekly events and participate in them. It can be quite boring and even depressing sometimes to stay at home on winter evenings when it gets dark at 3pm. So I usually check out local happening and university events, and participate in them to have some fun.
At UEF, we receive a weekly email newsletter from the Student Union listing all the events for that week and how to sign up for them. Most importantly, most of these events are free! I find this extremely useful to keep up with what is happening and add excitement to my life during the dark winter days. You can also check nearby events on Facebook, as nearly all organizations create events there.Cooking with friends

Cook traditional dishes and invite friends to come over. During the dark winter, I usually get extremely nostalgic and homesick. However, instead of being sad about it, I try to cook Vietnamese traditional dishes to help me ease the homesickness and invite other friends to join. Also, you can have a chance to taste other authentic dishes from different countries as well. Yum yum!

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. During cold and dark winter days, it is extremely common that you feel lazy all the time. To maintain good brain health, I try to include a lot of vegetables and fruits in my meals. It’s also crucial to take vitamin D supplements every day, as the absence of sunlight can even make you feel dizzy at times. Also, don't forget to exercise frequently. If it is too cold outside, in Joensuu, you can play sports indoors at the  Joensuu Areena.
Chidchanoke Kasetpibal 
Do yoga. I can say that I wouldn't have survived my winter in Finland without yoga. As a sporty and active person, it took me some time to figure out what I could do to maintain my physical and emotional well-being and beat snow and cold in Finland. So, I decided to become a member of an online yoga platform, Yogaia, which costs me only around 15 euros a year, and I just do yoga in my own flat every single day. 
Check the weather report. When I lived in my own country, I had never realized the importance of a weather forecast. It only became handy when I moved to Finland, and the one already provided on a smartphone was quite reliable and accurate. As the weather in Joensuu can change dramatically – from -20 one day to -10 the day after – checking the weather first thing in the morning is an absolute must.
Gathering with friends
Gather with friends. This might sound like a cliché, but hanging out with friends is one of the best ways to overcome depression. As the saying goes, “It's not about the places, but about the people." Friends can have a great impact on your emotions, especially during winter. Just make spontaneous plans, meet at someone's place, cook together, have some drinks and watch some movies.


Edward Gerald Hingert

Keeping warmListen to cheerful music.

Go to Sauna. As you know, this is one of the most popular activities in Finland, and there are more than 3 million saunas in total here. It’s especially good during the winter time, and you can continue with winter swimming after! It’s relaxing and energizing at the same time.

Keep warm. A mug of hot drink (cocoa, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, you name it) always works perfect during the winter time.
Bonus: I open a video of sun from YouTube sometimes, along with my UV lamp.
That is all for now! Stay tuned and read the second part of this blog soon...

Learn more about studying in Finland

Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package about how to apply for International Master’s Degree Programmes and Scholarships at the member universities of Finland University.

Interested? Download the guide and learn more!

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