January 28, 2016
As we’ve all witnessed by now, winter bites. And I’m not just talking about that wind. No one is more familiar with this than the people living on the east coast where winter storm Jonas wreaked havoc. For two days, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, Jonas trampled along like a hungry toddler. With hurricane-force winds and bone chilling temps he dumped unbelievable amounts of snow in his wake. For example, Allentown, Pennsylvania is digging out from under 31.9 inches of snow that fell in 48 hours!
I spoke to my cousin Annelise in Denmark and even they have felt the effects of ’snowzilla’, which delayed and canceled flights to and from Scandinavia over the past several days. The best we can do is hope the worst is over, but living in the northern regions of the world we have grown accustomed to knowing that we’re not in the clear just yet.
Though it pains me to say it, March 20th is still a long way off (46 days to be exact, but who’s counting?), and Annelise never fails to remind me that if anyone should be complaining it should be her people! However, as we’ve seen from almost any global happiness survey, the Danes do not have the reputation for having a gloomy outlook on things. Despite the fact that this time of the year is, well, pretty gloomy.
Just consider Danish climate and weather statistics: the months of December and January only average around 7 hours of daylight each day, with perhaps only an hour of actual sun. In my neck of the woods we experience about two more hours of daylight and about three times as much sun on average each day. Not getting outside, dealing with the cold and the snow, and the isolation of the winter months can definitely affect a person’s well-being, but thankfully there are solutions.
As we’ve seen, if anyone knows how to get through a hard winter it’s the Scandinavian people. So just how do they beat those winter blues? By taking it like a true Viking, of course, and so can you. As a matter of fact, you probably already are in more ways than you think!
For one, make it a point to spend time with those you love and make time doing what you love (need a good book?). Also, if your feeling chilly warm up with some tips from the Norwegians, they have it down! If your feeling low, take time to appreciate the beauty of winter. Sure, it’s easy to curse the snow and ice – especially when there’s nearly three feet of it burying your car on Monday morning – but the beauty is fleeting. Lastly, when all else fails, there is always akvavit to lift your spirit. Skål!
Check out the Pinterest board Keep Warm for more hygge-inspiration, and don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway to win a copy of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. A perfect read for these cold winter nights!