November in Norway is not just a catchy alliteration it is a notable slump in the year. It is the month of grey skies and in-between-seasonal weather that is hard to pretend does not affect you. It is probably what they researched when they defined seasonal affective disorder (SAD aka the winter blues) as a condition. I am sure of it.
The Brit in me has fought the urge to curl up in the foetal position and hibernate, saying, these grey skies are nothing, get over it woman. But then the Cypriot rebels screaming for warmth, sunshine and just a patch of blue sky, please. This is my second November here and I was forewarned. This is the month people go on holiday, if they can. To the “South” – almost everywhere is south from here.
November in Oslo is for the most part grim. Today is no exception. For me, days like this make the temptation to stay indoors until the sun comes back hard to fight. But I am not about doom and gloom. That is just not my style, so in just over a year here I have learnt some coping mechanisms that help to perk me up in the 30-day slump.
I have never been convinced of the need to take supplements if you are in full health. I have always been a doubter. A week or so ago, however, in the midst of grimsville, I decided to take a vitamin D and whether it was the psychological affect of taking it or some real physiological affect – it helped. I perked up and managed to convince myself all was not pointless. So I am stocking up on the vitamin D and adding it to my morning regime.
Tran (cod liver oil) is apparently the way to go, or so I have been told by my Norwegian friends. You can’t get more Norwegian than that. A spoonful a day is the cure to the winter blues. I have not tried it yet but I think I may just have to give it a go. You know when in Rome and all that.
The rain and cold is the greatest temptation for me to go from bed to sofa to bed again. November rain in Norway is like in the UK except colder. Growing up on Cyprus where rain is a seldom event and when it does come it feels like the whole island is going to flood – I have never really been a fan of rain. Even the endless drizzle of the UK has not shifted my opinion on that one. I don’t like getting wet unless I am in my swimming costume and it is hot.
Stuff still needs to get done though, so I have converted to buying practical clothing and footwear. Yes, I am talking raincoats and wellies and warm boots with thick soles and fur lining. The list of practical outdoor gear you end up owning whilst living here is endless but it is either that or remain house bound for the season.
The one plus is that Scandinavians have fashionable versions of all these practical items so no need to give up entirely on looking stylish. Although I must admit to leaving the house looking like I have no mirrors at home on more than one occasion.
CHASE THE SUNSHINE
I am not new to chasing the sunshine. This is a common phenomenon in the UK too, so being a pro at this I know a sunny day is not to be wasted in doors. The sun does come out in November every now and again so I get ready for it and make sure I am outside. Lunch-time walks and waking up early on weekends helps.
Despite all this, it is not all doom and gloom in November. Christmas is in the air and few places do Christmas so well as in these parts of the world. I also perk up when I remember it is a short wait until snow and ski season. I am excited to to see what I look like on cross-country skis this season. In my head it is going to be like a Norwegian cross-country sports star. A girl can have hope.
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