Student-made Wellbeing

Staying happy in the Winter – tips from Scandinavia

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As the days get shorter and the streets get icier, you may feel like you are spending all your time counting down the days until spring finally arrives. Seasonal affective disorder is rife this time of year, and by the beginning of February it might seem as though you are just about at the end of your tether.

Luckily, winter doesn’t have to be like this, and where better to get tips on surviving the cold than from the happiest (and chilliest) countries in the world. Having studied in Scandinavia, I can say with confidence that they are certified pros when it comes to wintertime happiness – and with up to 7 months of the frosty season in the northern-most countries it should come as no surprise.

Soft lighting (lamps and candles)

The first tip is all about lighting. While it might seem counterintuitive to turn lights off during the darkest period of the year, a good ambience goes a long way. One of the simplest ways to create a cosier atmosphere is to swap the big lights for a few well-placed lamps.

If you want to take it a step further however, candles are a great alternative. Relatively inexpensive, and great for giving your eyes a break from a day of staring at screens with their soft light, candles are a huge hit in Denmark especially – who burn an average of 3.5kg of wax per person per year.

Food and drinks

Baked goods are essential to staving off the cold during the winter. When you are looking for ways to stay comfortable and upbeat the qualities you will most likely be looking for are those that taste great and keep you full.

Stews, meatballs, pastries, and soups are all staple winter foods thanks to their flavour, and availability despite a brisk climate. That being said, everyone has different taste and so it is perfectly fine if some of these dishes aren’t for you.

Warm Clothes

To be happy in winter is to be warm. Despite how much you might want to spend your days sat under a pile of blankets, the reality is we all need to head out from time to time. This means that it is time to layer up.

Scarfs, thick jumpers, big hats, and large coats are essential when you are out and about bracing the cold. To keep comfortable and warm, residents of the Nordic countries favour cosy, uncomplicated (and often woollen) clothing, to minimise any unnecessary stress throughout the day.


The final tip for staying happy in the winter is by surrounding yourself with friends. Having people over is a great way to lift your spirits and get away from the stresses of daily life for a while to enjoy some good company.

There are plenty of things to do in and around the city, but there is no better way to spend a chilly evening than choosing to stay at home, watching a movie, having dinner, or maybe even playing a boardgame.


So, if you’re feeling down and out over the wintertime then give some of these ideas a try, they are sure to keep you warm until the summer months roll around again.

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