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How Icelanders Deal With The Darkness?

|October 21, 2017
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

Are you visiting or staying in Iceland this winter? Here are some insider tips on how Icelanders deal with the darkness.

Today, 21st of October marks the first day of winter here in Iceland. The first day of winter in Iceland is always the first Saturday after the 26. Week. In the old Viking times when we counted the months a whole different way, we had special Winter months and this day marked the beginning of the first winter month Gor.

For the next years, these will be the first days of Winter.

  • 2017 – 21. October
  • 2018 – 27. October
  • 2019 – 26. October
  • 2020 – 24. October
  • 2021 – 23. October

Anyhow, the reason I am rambling on about the winter months isn’t to educate you in Vikings or foreign calendars. It’s to explain a little bit about the dark, dark winters here in Iceland AND how we cope with it.

1. LIGHTS, all lights and a whole bunch of Christmas lights.

Thankfully the electricity is cheap in Iceland. We turn on the lights as soon as we get home and are not really turning off any of them until we go to sleep, if even then.

Also during November (some a lot earlier), Icelanders go crazy with Christmas lights. We decorate everything and everywhere and keep it well into the new year.

During the financial crisis in 2008, a statement was even sent out asking people not to take the lights down, to keep them up to have more light and keep people happy.

2. Lýsi, fish oil.

For many, this might seem a bit weird but most Icelanders are raised with a tablespoon of Fish oil every day, it’s even provided at the kindergarten. Some hate it all their life but still, everyone agrees on it being extremely healthy.

3. Coffee.

Oh, that brown dripping miracle of a liquid. We drink coffee and a lot of it. Most Icelanders prefer coffee to tea and if you visit friends or family, go to a meeting or even just visit a nice store you will be offered some.

4. Sex

The perfect way to stay warm. During the darkest time and the worst weather people like to stay inside more. This leads to people having more sex and its helps a lot. More sex more = smiley faces. Especially bad winters in Iceland have also proven to help increase the population which is a great thing when you are only 340.000.

5. Vitamins

We take in vitamins especially vitamin D and like to eat a lot of fruits, oranges, and apples to increase the vitamin intake. This helps!

Photo by MicroAssist

6. Tanning salons

Now this isn’t the one we are the most proud of and you don’t have to give us the lecture about how unhealthy they are but the fact of the matter is that the salons live a good life here in Iceland and are visited a lot. Just laying in one of those, feeling the warmth and also getting a little color. It’s one of those guilty pleasure things, but my 60 year old father swears on it!

7. Alarm clocks with daylight

This is a relatively new thing but people are raving about it. Waking up early can be hard but imagine waking up to no light at all. Then this comes in handy and makes the whole act a lot easier! The light of the alarm is the same as daylight and starts shining in the room a half an hour before the actual sound of the alarm goes off. Can surely recommend this.

8. Traveling abroad to sunny places

This is one way to cope. Taking a few days or weeks off to travel to somewhere there are more sun hours, so you can get some vitamin D and recharge your energy level. This is very common for those who suffer from seasonal depression.

9. Exercise

People go to the gym a lot, there are running groups in every neighborhood and then our number one thing; swimming pools. Many start every morning with a swim and they say a population of 150 persons in a village will due for them to build a swimming pool. They are the best, you must try!

I personally like to take a sip in the ocean and then go to the hot tub after at Nauthólsvík. It’s amazing!

PS. This part is also very linked with the one number 4, the more sex the better.

There you have it, so if you are planning on staying longer in Iceland during winter hope you can try these ways to cope with the infamous Icelandic winter darkness.

Share this with someone who is going to Iceland this winter!

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