How To Survive An Icelandic Winter - The Reykjavik Grapevine

How To Survive An Icelandic Winter

How To Survive An Icelandic Winter

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Icelandic winters can be hard and long. It’s good to prepare, because winter is coming and with it lethargy, melancholy and a lot of irony. Let’s face it, it’ll be cold, rainy and depressing, so there’s no point in making life harder than it is already. Step in front of the mirror, smile at yourself for the day ahead (or laugh at yourself if you feel on edge) and off you go. It worked for the Evil Queen in Snow White. Conquer the world by sharing your positive and not-at-all-annoyed self with whoever happens to be there.

1. Take your vitamins
Vitamins are life savers. You’ve probably heard it before like a hundred times, but human beings only learn by constant repetition and sometimes you just gotta tell someone for the thousandth time. You won’t see the sun very often, which means that your body will crave Vitamin D. Set an alarm and pop those pills. Also, take your omega-3. It might seem strange to take a shot of cod liver daily but, oh well, you’re in Iceland now, get used to it.

2. Use daylight lamps
Yes, it’s dark during the winter. No, you cannot change that. What you can change is how you lighten up your day. Every electronics store has these lamps in stock, and they work wonders. Not only do you get to see (simulated) light for once, but daylight lamps help your biorhythm and get your motivation going. Don’t expect a miracle—it will still suck getting up in the morning.

3. Exercise
Who doesn’t like exercising? You? Well, it’s time to face the fact that nothing comes from nothing. Put on your sweatpants and (I know what you’re hoping to hear) DON’T sit down on the couch. Not sure how to exercise? Let’s take it step by step. First, go online. Now search for “exercise [insert any area of your body that you’d like to improve].” Check? Perfect, now just follow through. Exercise will release endorphins, wake you up, and—fun fact—prepare you for that summer body that you didn’t know you wanted.

4. Bring out that inner yogi
Yeah, yoga is awesome. No, yoga isn’t just some spiritual BS. Try it, it might surprise you. It’s as relaxing as a nap, but releases more stress and anxiety. Breathing exercises, dogs, cows, and other animals will be your constant companion and eventually make you appreciate yourself more. Positivity is key. Namaste!

5. “If you like pina coladas…”
Drink them.

6. Go for walks
Get your butt out of the house! The couch will still be there when you come home. There is no nicer country for walks than Iceland. Feel the cold air in your face, throw snowballs at strangers, and then get your heart rate up running away if they chase you. And don’t worry, you don’t have to walk for hours—just make sure that you increase your oxygen intake and you’ll start feeling more energetic.

7. Use irony
Try to be very serious and bitter in the winter months, because dark days need exactly that. Just kidding—please try to take things easy, and with a certain degree of irony. No one will pick on you for having a bad day, but having a smile on your face goes a long way. Other people will like you more, because you are a friendly human. If they like you, they will be nicer to you, and as a result you’ll feel better. Unless you like being disliked. In which case return to stage 5.

8. Coffee
Not sure why coffee is even on the list. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Drink coffee, drink more coffee, take a bath in coffee, grow your own coffee, be coffee.

9. Be good to yourself
So what if you gain some weight. Let’s just call it… winter padding. Be good to yourself, treat yourself, be nice to yourself. Candy, pizza and burgers are waiting for you and are silently screaming your name. Well, don’t let them wait. Happiness goes a long way, especially in the harshness of an island in the middle of the North Atlantic. No point making it harder by starting diets or forbidding yourself from enjoying the little things. But hey, balance is key!

10. Give yourself something to look forward to
Be it that new movie you’ve been waiting forever for or just that Facebook event you are interested in, but don’t actually plan on attending. Well, step up your game! Make plans and stick to them. Use this time to develop yourself, to get to know new things. Looking forward to something goes a long way. We all know that the best parties are the ones you actually never wanted to go to in the first place.


Show Me More!