The Norwegian Secret to Surviving a MN Winter
My wife sent me an article the other day titled "The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter."
Originally published in 2015, it's apparently making a comeback as I've also seen it shared around social media.
The article follows a visit to Northern Norway by Stanford University PhD student Kari Leibowitz. She spent 10 months in Norway on a Fulbright Scholarship studying the local people and their overall mental health through the winter months. Despite the long seasons of dark and cold, the rate of seasonal depression was much lower than she would have guessed.
“Why aren’t people here more depressed?” Leibowitz wondered. “Why don’t you have seasonal depression?” The answer was “Why would we?” In Northern Norway, it turns out, winter is something to look forward to.
For one, Norwegians celebrate winter as the time of year they can only do winter activities. “People couldn’t wait for the ski season to start,” Leibowitz said. “There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
A second trick to appreciating winter is koselig -- or a sense of coziness. "It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress," reads the article. Think blankets and wool socks, fireplaces and campfires, mugs of hot chocolate and mulled wine. There's also a community aspect to koselig. According to Leibowitz, there are plenty of festivals and community events in Northern Norway during the winter as well.
One thing Minnesotans are very good at is commiserating about winter together. It bonds us and gives us something in common. But, Leibowitz notes, “It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter.”
I'll be the first to admit I tend to dread winter in Minnesota, and I spend too much time complaining about and suffering through it. If you do, too, then perhaps this can be the year we learn to embrace winter and all it has to offer -- the activities and the koselig.
Feel free to check in with me after the holidays have passed and see how I'm doing.