Words by Jonas Langset Hustad
Uh-oh, winter is here! Life slowly freezes to a complete stop as the days become ever shorter and the nights ever colder. “Didn’t the feeling of cold have some sort of opposite?”, you wonder. “Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of circle of light in the sky?” you try to ask someone through chattering teeth. But don’t lose hope! We are all here because stubborn Norwegians somehow made it through this shit for millenia. So let’s see what we can do.
Imagine this: you are only allowed to drink water for a couple of hours each day. Better drink that water while you can, am I right? This is the sun during winter. While being sun-deprived doesn’t literally kill you, it biologically tells your body that you should be sad and asleep. So whenever there’s daylight, get out there (and maybe take some Vitamin D supplements, too). But what to do in the world outside when it’s too cold to go rollerskating?
Yes, a Norwegian wrote this article. Okay, so maybe you either didn’t grow up skiing, or you grew up skiing and hated it. Well, this year might be a good time to try it, whether for the first time or again, now that your parents aren’t nagging you about it. Skiing lets you experience nature at its finest, and it lets you exercise at your own pace. Equipment can be found at your local sports store for money or at Finn.no for less money. If you’re not from a skiing country, a Norwegian will probably be delighted to make their ancestors proud by teaching you.
Very well, have it your way. You can still experience nature at its finest, you just need to stick to the walking tracks in Bymarka. Bring friends, make a bonfire (it’s legal in the winter!) and incinerate some hot dogs together. Also, sledding is easier than skiing.
Fact #1: You still secretly want to go sledding, even if you’re a grown-up.
Fact #2: Your friends do, too.
Fact #3: Both Skistua and Sverresborg Folkemuseum have excellent sledding hills.
If you’re of the more urban persuasion, bring hot chocolate and make a bonfire at Skansen in the public grill or fire pit and watch the sun go down over the fjord. Then at least you know where it went.
So the sun is down and it’s time to get snug. How to best hibernate? I suggest reaching out to friends and family to avoid hibernating alone too much. In summer, social contact can be easy and incidental, in winter it has to be intentional and planned. Make it happen! If the sun is your water, then social contact is your food. You may be an introvert, but you’re still a pack animal. If your social network isn’t great (and there’s no shame in that), peruse this magazine for events and activities to join. Norwegians typically get to know people through shared activities, so if there’s a sport or hobby you always wanted to try, go for it!
It can be hard to move to the un-cozy side of your front door, so good bait is needed to entice people to come to you. I suggest baking cookies, making hot chocolate (again), or really anything else that involves warmth and shared indulgence. Put your phones away and busy your scroll-happy fingers with knitting, painting, drawing, or some other relaxing activity. Panduro in Fjordgata will have both the inspiration and the tools you need. Put on your favourite movie from the 90s, listen to an audiobook together (Trondheim Folkebibliotek has plenty of both, free of charge), or just hang out. Sure, you can dress up and have a nice dinner party, but how often do you have the time and energy to put that together? For your more regular social needs, I personally recommend a low threshold and comfy clothing.
No people today, thank you very much! Just you, yourself, and… what, exactly? As long as you have an internet connection, the choices are endless, and if you’re like me, the choosing can take up most of the evening and be surprisingly stressful. This is no accident, because there’s now a whole economy built on grasping your attention, and it’s brilliantly successful. So in order to actually have some Me Time instead of just SoMe Time, commit to an activity and put your phone away! It can seem like a Big Decision to spend the next two hours watching a movie or reading a book, but all the micro-activites that each take two seconds quickly add up to that anyway, and you’ll often have no idea what you just spent your evening on. The news cycle and your online friends circle can probably survive without your attention for a little while, so log off, drop out, and tune in, or whatever the hippies said.
Good luck and see you in spring!