We’ve made it through January – probably my least favorite month of the year, in total. It does have its bright spots, but mostly, I’m still feeling the holiday fatigue, we all have to go back to work much sooner than we’d like, and it’s still so dark outside! I basically spend all daylight hours at the office, and it’s not fun.
Now we’re in February, but not much seems to have improved, really – except that it’s getting lighter now in the mornings and we might actually have an hour or so of daylight after we leave work. Incremental progress!
I always say about winter in Denmark that by January, I’m really ready for spring to come, but there’s another three to four months of winter ahead. And most often, that’s not the nice kind of winter with crispy clear weather, snow, and sunshine. Nope, it’s the kind with snowy rain, slush in the streets, and long grey days where it doesn’t really seem to get light out at all.
But don’t despair! I’ve collected my five favorite ways to stay cozy during the Danish winter!
Brew up a cup of your favorite hot beverage
There’s a reason why, when you scroll through Instagram’s #hygge hashtag, you’ll find an abundance of shots of hands holding a mug. Nothing helps with the cold like warming yourself from within. I’m a coffee girl myself, and especially in the long darkness that is the Danish winter, I need more than my normal dose of caffeine to get me through the day. I also love a good tea, or some yummy hot chocolate… If all else fails, make a gløgg, or add a shot of Baileys or rum to your cocoa!
Keep your body’s defenses up
Unfortunately, I’m quite prone to get colds. I’m hit at least twice a year, usually in the fall and then again in those early months of the year. So when it gets cold, I try to boost my immune system and keep my body’s defenses up. I try to stock up on vitamins, especially vitamin C, by eating loads of clementines and drinking a ginger shot every morning (I love Irma’s blends, my current favorite is apple-carrot-ginger). I also often drink “hot lemonade” – squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup, add a teaspoon of honey and pour hot water over, as if making tea. One of my favorite winter drinks!
Stock up on Vitamin D
Sunlight is a rare commodity during winter time in Denmark – most days, I spend all of the daylight hours at the office, getting in before sunrise and only leaving after the sun has already gone down again. This can lead to a vitamin D deficiency and make you tired and a bit melancholic. I remember one time in my teenage years when I actually developed a winter depression. So make sure you get your vitamin D! I usually take supplements, but some people swear on daylight lamps, too. Another alternative is to spend 20 minutes on the tanning bed – but obviously don’t overdo it.
Spend some cozy nights in
Sometimes, I feel almost trapped in my own apartment – it’s so cold and dark outside that my motivation to leave my snuggly warm house is a all-time lows. So in order to avoid that “trapped” feeling, spoil yourself with a delicious, home-cooked dinner, open a nice bottle of wine, and cuddle up with a good book or your favorite TV show. I’m currently ready a Bobby Kennedy biography and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and simultaneously binging on New Girl and Vikings (thank God for HBO Nordic and Netflix!). Alternatively, long winter afternoons and evenings are a great opportunity to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. I’ve started teaching myself to play the guitar, and I try to practice three or four times a week. I also do a lot of crossword puzzles. Like, a lot. My mom has to send me new booklets from Germany because there’s no way I could solve one in Danish. Or how about knitting or painting? The possibilities are endless!
Bundle up and go for a walk
If you’ve taken up knitting (or already know how to do that), knit yourself some comfy socks, a big scarf, and a warm hat and bundle up! Copenhagen is beautiful in the winter – go out there and take a walk, for example by the lakes, across Assistens Kirkegård, or around Amager Fælled. Then reward yourself with a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
What’s your favorite way to beat the winter blues? Share your best tips in the comments below!
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