Living in Gothenburg can always be tough when the weather drastically changes during the months of November and December. People tend to become less open and definitely much more withdrawn and to themselves. Despite, the beautiful into the “Shire” hobbit type feel in the summer time, they don’t call it Gothem city in the wintertime just for kicks!

Anyway, this article is for international people to get a grasp on the wonderful things they can experience while attempting to adapt to the Swedish culture and environment. It’s definitely important to get a feel on practical things that can be hard to figure out while in a new country.

So… it’s finally the wintertime! Cold, dark, and windy! The way it is every Swedish Winter! Some are very easily adapted to this climate but others from warm climates might be having a tad more difficulty adjusting. Are you feeling tired, anxious, or sad? Right now we are experiencing a very interesting transition. Almost everyone starts to experience it during the month of November/December. People feel there is no real reason behind why they are feeling a bit grumpy, or a bit on the tired side, but there is always an underlying reason to why we feel the way we feel!

The truth is, the environment around us changes during the month, which inevitably means our actions also change and our routine becomes different. We stay inside more because of the weather, spend less time in the sun, and have slowly started to experience hibernation mode due to the rainy and cold weather. We start to feel our immune system is not completely up to par and even a two weekend party binge in turn creates a 5 day recuperation mode and a trip to Vard-Central. It seems that almost everyone gets sick over the winter!

However, despite the easy “catching a cold syndrome,” we also tend to feel the blues during the wintertime. Psychologically speaking, we as humans become happy when our endorphins and serotonin increase. They are our happy chemicals within the brain that fluctuate happiness. Which is why it is important to take your multi vitamins, and increase both chemicals by adjusting your environment. During the winter time, everyone gets depleted of these chemicals that are produced in the brain because we get these chemicals for example, from the sun which produces serotonin naturally and also by participating in anything athletic because that in turn increases endorphins in the body. During the Swedish summer people are more active and also in the sun, which is the reason, they are naturally more comfortable and happy in the summer. During the fall season we go through the transition of the blues because we are not s active and not as much in the sun as we normally would be. The good thing is that there are ways to get around this!

Adjusting your routine is the first step! Add in a work out routine; plan to be in the sun as much as you naturally can, and keep yourself away from idle time. The more you participate socially and keep your self actively engaged, the easier it is to cope with the long winters! Two great supplements that have helped me out are Vitamin D and a supplement mood enhancer called 5-HTP, which produces serotonin and can be bought at any vitamin store in Sweden. . You can always beat out the blues and stay positive and happy. Just be patient and endure the transition by adapting in other ways!

Now, when it comes to being physically sick… it is important to go and get a clinical checkup. A lot of people are puzzled by the way it works in Sweden when needed to see a doctor. The system here may be a bit different that in other countries, but still very organized and easy to figure out once you get the hang of it! The term for clinic is called Vardcentral and there are many listed on the Internet. Akademihalsan or clinics for students can be found if you look in the Gothenburg University Guide as well as a number you call 0 31-106970 for assistance. Going to the clinic is really fast and simple. The cost is usually 300 SEK for a non-citizen and 100 SEK for a regular citizen when being appointed a checkup. Usually you do not have to schedule a checkup but you can arrive at the clinic and will wait in a small queue. Most doctors are very friendly, speak fluently, and prescribe very good and inexpensive medicine.

Other great methods of boosting your immune system and staying healthy is something Swedish called: Floradix Blutsaft which is a liquid vegetable iron supplement containing an organic and easily absorbed type of iron – järnglukonat.
Blutsaft is recommended today largely in health care, both because of its rapid effect on iron balance and that it has no adverse effect on the stomach.. Blutsaft has been used by Swedish women for over 60 years and is currently the best-selling liquid iron supplements.

When feeling like you have just caught something in the air – try a herb called oregano oil which can also be bought in vitamin stores. Oil of oregano fast beats out any kind of infection and stomps out the sickness before it gets any worse. One of the best proven over the counter aids out there from my opinion! Other than that, lots of propolis, garlic, honey, and plenty of tea always does wonders when having caught a winter cold!

Written: by Claire Hultin