Surviving the darkness: a guide

OK, you’ve probably seen a lot of survival shows on TV like Bear Grylls and others. I have too. And you are probably wondering what that has to do with anything this blog is about. Bear with me. (see what I did there?)

Moving to a different region and climate brings changes to your lifestyle. Not that anything is wrong with changes. Personally, I love them.
Most of the time.
Newsflash: Sweden is cold. To a little Mediterranean like me, it definitely is. That’s one novelty for me. I also want to tell you about another novelty of sorts. It’s called darkness.

As Gimmy pointed out so well, frostbites are one danger of the Swedish winter. (there’s my excuse to continue wearing all my skinny jeans throughout winter, thanks G!)
But darkness… Darkness is a whole different story, my friends.

November has been a dark, dark month for Southern Sweden. And I mean that in the simplest way of all: there was no Sun. Darkest November in living memory, as far as The Local says.

So, having gone through this month, I compiled a survival guide for you.

You can thank me later.

Here we go:

1. Keep it healthy

Let’s start with the obvious: take vitamins, exercise and eat healthy. This way, you will avoid fatigue and tiredness.

2. It’s curtains for the Sun

You will start to notice there is no purpose in moving your curtains at all. It will be equally as dark with or without them on your window. Morning, day or night.

3. Shake it off

Put some good music on and dance to it. Chances are, your curtains are already covering the windows so no one will witness your “Shake It Off” moment. You know you want it.

4. Go artsy

Take a piece of paper, yellow highlighter (I know you have it, you student) and draw a big, happy sun. Glue on window. Observe occasionally pretending it’s too hot and you need SPF. Maybe wear sunglasses.

5. Go out

But you just want to curl up and drink tea? WRONG. Go out. It might sound counterintuitive at first, but go out and be with friends (boyfriends, girlfriends etc). Makes a huge difference.

6. Friends in need…

Complain about the darkness to a Swedish friend. It has to be a Swede because they will tell you, while attempting to suppress their laughter that “it is not that bad, it can be worse, really” so you will feel like you need to step up your game and deal with it. Because you’re tough like that.

 7. … Are friends indeed

Afterwards, go to a non-Swedish friend and complain about the Swede’s answer to your complaint about the darkness. Sob together.

8. It’s all about some extra calories

Eat kanelbullar. They are the cure for everything.

9. Romance

Light candles. Lots of candles. It gives darkness a romantic note. Poetic, huh. I frowned at it as well at first.

10. How many students does it take to change a light bulb?

No, I am not telling a bad joke. I’m terribly bad at that. But I’ll tell you this: Gradually decrease the amount of lamps and lighting you turn on in the morning. By the time you’re left with one source of light, you’d be pretty much used to it all. Hopefully.

11. “We are the champions”

In the end of the month, you will think “I rock. I survived the darkness.”* And that, my friends, is when you thank me for providing you with this guide.


* One of my (Swedish) friends told me: “Maybe you should write ‘I will survive.’ I am sorry, but it’s not over yet.”
Winter is coming.

Pictured above: photographic evidence of the Sun taking a month-long vacation from Sweden. Photo dated 2.11.2014.

Dena avatar


  • Angelina
    Angelina Ho • 30 Nov 2014 at 10.10 pm Reply

    Darkest nov in the last 100 years! Love this guide. I’m definitely putting on extra calories during winter with all the comfort pepparkakor and kanelbullar.

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 9 Dec 2014 at 10.16 am Reply

      Angelina, I know how you feel 🙂

  • iram • 30 Nov 2014 at 8.24 pm Reply

    hi i am from pakistan
    i need free education in any europe university
    please help me

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 9 Dec 2014 at 10.20 am Reply

      Iram, you can browse here for programmes that you might be interested in here, and then you can check if there are any suitable scholarships for you here.
      Good luck!

  • iram • 30 Nov 2014 at 8.20 pm Reply

    i am from pakistan
    i need free education i nany university of europe
    please help me anybody

  • Mian Saeed Akbar • 30 Nov 2014 at 7.30 am Reply

    nice addition information

  • Marta Khomyn • 28 Nov 2014 at 2.55 am Reply

    Now, that’s seriously relevant! I mean, we are living through the darkest November in the last 100 years. No kidding. Swedish Statistics Bureau=)

  • Dena
    Dena Dervanovic • 27 Nov 2014 at 1.58 pm Reply

    Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • R.Rangarajan • 27 Nov 2014 at 12.18 pm Reply

    Very thought-provoking…particularly for someone like me from a tropical country like India!…well written with practical advise!

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