I have been pondering this post for a while now, almost the whole winter in fact. That is one thing winter in Sweden is good for. Procrastinating.
Somewhat of a non-motorcycle related post, I will tie it in like this: The Jadus promotional bike has been in roughly the same state of completion for almost two months now - see below. Why such slow progress when so close to the end? Well my friends, that I put down to the Swedish winter blues, the darkness ‘deppies’, the motivation pit, the energy sucker, the life drainer - just a few other ways to express the drabness that is the never ending, grey, cold but not cold enough to be interesting, wet, dark (oh-so-fucking dark), miserable Swedish winter.
You’ve seen those memes with the text ‘why do I live somewhere where the cold makes my face hurt’ right? All right, all right, enough of the moaning, on with the writing. One more time, wtf do I live in a country where the weather is only good for 4 months of the year, or roughly 30% of the year?
In order to survive (yes, I say survive) a Swedish winter I have some useful tips and things I have come to build into my lifestyle through these months (through trial and error) that keep my mind, body and soul above the bumming out threshold.
Tip one: Exercise
A no brainer right? Well, generally, exercise is good for you no matter what. But in this case it is particularly important and I would suggest OUTDOOR exercise even. Yes, get out. No matter what. Just accept the pathetic Swedish attempt at compensating for the bad weather and adopt their expression ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’ (which of course rhymes in Swedish, not so cool in English however). Asides from the health benefits, what you are trying to do here is keep the dopamine and endorphin levels in your brain somewhat stable - which are obtained from body activity. God, isn’t it hard to get off the couch when it is dark, cold and windy? Yeah, that’s why I include a tip one BONUS TIP!
*Bonus Tip: If possible, try to build in your exercise into your work commute somehow - walk, run, or bike to work. Get off the bus or train one or two stops earlier etc - making it at least 30mins of good heavy breathing, heart pumping stuff. Then by the time you get home, you are already high on those good brain hormones ;)
Tip two: Smash those vitamins, get 'em in ya, especially vitamin D
How in the hell do you think your body is going to get any vitamin D through your skin from sunlight when A) There is next to no sunlight, and B) You are completely wrapped up in your ‘there is no bad weather only bad clothes’ clothing. So take your tablets and immune boosters and start taking a berocca or similar daily, rather than giving you back your ‘b-b’ bounce, it will keep you from ‘b-b’ bouncing just off rock bottom.
Tip three: Stay social
Yeah it’s hard to get them feel good chatty vibes through these times, and I am never going to get a golden star here. In fact, I am just stoked to get one status above hermit through these months. Keep talking to people, keep hanging out with people and you’ll get the ‘we’re all in the same god damn boat’ feels - you shouldn’t have to feel alone as everyone is going through it and feeling it. Just walk the streets in winter in any Swedish city and you would think everyone had just been told they had contracted an incurable disease. (Funny side note, all these same people as soon as the spring comes, look like they all took the same MDMA hit at the same time - one that makes them smile like nutters at the sun and stand in the rays like they are about to get beamed up to heaven).
Tip four: Sunbed? Final tip, a controversial one. Sunbeds, to bake or not to bake
Before moving to Sweden I had been to one sunbed in my life - funnily enough, with my then Swedish girlfriend. I thought I might as well try it, despite the Australian health board's scalding warnings about the harm they cause. Anywho, I didn’t love it and refused to go again, thinking it was a big wasted (and dangerous and harmful) exercise and shelved it as something for people with either low self esteem, low moral standards or simply self loving, image focussed twats. Three survived winters later (yes, as mentioned earlier, one counts their time in Sweden in winters survived), I started thinking about the prospect again after hearing whispers about some health benefits - for people living in cold climates. I tried it again... I fucking loved it. Now, at this point in my life, I live in a place that doesn't have a mirror. So I couldn't give a flying fuck if I was the pastyest man alive - even if my sisters call me translucent when they see me. So the argument that I would be doing it for cosmetic purposes is null. But this is the good; the light beams warm you up from the inside out - or at least it feels that way - similar to a really nice spa bath, then, when you get out, wipe your sweat off the surfaces (like a considerate person does!), get your cloths back on and walk back outside into the cold and the dark, you feel a million bucks. And it lasts! I only needed to go 2-3 times the whole winter and that was enough to keep me peaking on those vitamin D, warm fuzzy, feel good vibes. Don’t be a dick and try and have a long session, do the recommended time for your skin type and you lessen the risk of any damage. But I’ll totally leave this one up to you. Do your own research and make up your own mind.
Right, that's the survival tips covered. So how do you keep up motivation to keep working on your projects? Well that's another thing entirely! And again, explains the lack of progress on the Jadus bike ;)
Stay up folks, and pray for an early spring!