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!
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.
Add 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!
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.
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!
Edward Gerald Hingert
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.
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.
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