Tips for living in the cold and dark

Staying positive and energized throughout the winter can sometimes be a challenge, this year more than ever. Being in self-isolation and lockdown is the right thing to do, but can also make us feel more lonely. If you’re one of those dreading the winter season and feel like it’s never going to end we’ve written down everything we could think of that makes this dark and cold time of year warm and bright.

Winter in Lofoten is actually a favorite time of year for many of the islanders living here. With snow-covered pyramid mountains, eagles and hares circling around our island and a lack of sun that’s hardly noticed due to the bright moon and stars there’s nothing quite like it. It’s all about how you perceive it, and so we hope our tips below can be of use.

1. Enjoy the beautiful scenery
Although winters can seem dark and dull, it’s also a time of year with beautiful colours brightening up the sky. Vivid shades of red and orange are often intertwined with the cold blue sky as the sun plays along the horizon. What could possibly be better than camping outside with fresh air, heavenly scenery and hot cocoa and cream?

2. Find an activity you like
If you live in a place with snow, the opportunities are endless. Go to the grocery store skiing, or even better, try out kicksledding! Have a snowball fight, make a snowman, snowangel, or go ice-skating. Pack with you cocoa and clementines and go on an outdoor trip with someone you’d like to bring along. Go ice-fishing or grill hotdogs outside over open flames.

If you live in a snowless place there’s still plenty of other activities you can do. Start on a new project such as knitting, drawing or maybe there’s a language you’ve always wanted to learn? You can also read a book, bake or start planning how your spring garden will come to life. And if any of these sounds completely dull, winters are also known for showing a whole lot of sports and other tv-series to binge-watch on your TV.

3. Get those few hours of daylight if possible
With a short amount of daylight each day, it’s crucial to absorb those few rays of lights when possible. This will help you stay more awake during the day and also improve your sleep at night. If you live in a place with polar nights such as us, there’s still some subtle light and twilight to indulge yourself with in the early noon. Are you unable to get out during these golden hours for some reason, we highly recommend that you supply yourself with a daylight lamp. Living and working during polar nights here in the Arctic makes it essential to have some type of extra light to help us stay awake and energized during the dark period.

4. Make it cozy
There’s something special about getting inside with a shivering body and warming yourself up in front of the fire. Knowing there’s a blasting storm outside whilst you’re all snuggled up in wool and blankets inside with a Christmas drink and candles is not something you can recreate on a hot summer day. ‘Kose seg’ – make it cozy – is something we Norwegians are exceptionally good at.

5. Dress warmly and go out no matter the weather
We know how extremely difficult it can be to go outside when the weather is bad and all you want to do is hide inside under a blanket. But believe us – it’s always worth it. Imagine how great you will feel when you’re back home! Getting some fresh air and a short walk every day will improve your mood, sleep and health. Just make sure you have the proper clothing and reward yourself with a warm cup of tea when you’re back inside, so you won’t catch any cold!

6. Stay healthy with Omega-3 and Vitamin D
How do you think all the fishermen and their wives survived until now, with such hard work, sweat and tears and little daylight for 6 months each year? The answer to this is fish oil. Called a ‘universalmiddel’ – magic potion – this nutrient oil derives from cod livers and is rich in the much-needed omega-3 fatty acid that keeps your skin and hair healthy and Vitamin D that we’re chronically lacking here in the north. As your body is not able to produce this type of Vitamin without sun, it’s crucial to have it ingested through food and supplements instead.

7. Stay positive and make yourself laugh
It’s often the most brainless and dumb inventions that paves way to the greatest laughs. If being a little childish is what’s needed to have a good laugh it’s probably worth it. If you focus on the positive parts of life, your life will become positive. Look forward to simple things such as the sunday roast you’re making every week, silly family traditions, quiz nights or a new episode of the latest tv-programme you’re watching. If you’re not in the mood, go outside for some fresh air. Take action to stay positive.

That’s about it. We hope this was helpful and wish you a warm and bright winter season ahead!