It’s dark in Sweden now. International student Emily Rose Williams have outlined the things that helped her through these dark times.

I’m certain that everyone who is native to Sweden will laugh at this article, because really? Obviously it’s dark in Sweden now. But for me, an international student, and almost every other international student I have spoken to, it is hard. 4 hours of sunlight! That is just not enough, and so in the hopes that this will help everyone else suffering through this, I have outlined the things that helped me through these dark times.

Exercise! IKSU has quickly become my third home (after the library and my real home). Is it a struggle to commit to a workout? Almost definably. But when I’m there I feel so much better. Who knew a sweat would make me feel so good? Get those endorphins flowing and hopefully it will help melt those blues away.

On the rare occasion that the sun is out, going outside and making the most of it really makes a difference. A brisk walk around the neighbour, cycling around the lake, skiing or skating when the snow settles are all great ways to relish in the sunlight when it’s about.

If you can’t find natural vitamin D, store-bought is fine. It’s well known that without proper sunlight exposure, vitamin D levels drop, bringing with it fatigue and tiredness, muscle and bone aches and depression (www.healthline.com). Sound familiar? Stock up at the pharmacy on these tablets to keep the sadness at bay.

Take the time to indulge yourself! What better time than in the dark dreary winter to host parties and festivities! Treat yourself to a new game or a trip to the cinema! Catch up with friends for coffee or dinner, and enjoy the cakes and sweets that seem to appear even more now the darkness has set in. With the darkness of winter also comes the excitement of the holidays – markets to visits, friends and family to see, games to play. But the fun stuff doesn’t need an excuse – treat yourself regardless of the occasion and you’ll soon forget the miserable gloom.

Take advantage of all the great services at the university! Aurora, the university light room, is open during study hours for you to take advantage of, free of charge. It is a great place to sit and recharge from the blackness, and to take some respite every now and then. The university also offers great health services, if your doom and gloom seems to be caused by more than just seasonal darkness. Talk to a counsellor at the infocentre if you need some more professional help.

Remember that this too shall pass – and when Summer comes you can guarantee a complimentary article complaining about the excessive sunlight.

Emily Rose Williams