I’m British, this might explain my natural acceptance of winter. It’s just a season, one of four and it’s something that is going to happen whether you want it to or not. Every year it comes and goes, sometimes staying longer than expected and sometimes fleeing early, whichever it is there will always be ‘grey days’.
These aren’t metaphorical ‘grey days’, these are actual literal days of unending greyness. The UKs meteorological wonder is drizzle and it seems that ‘grey’ is Germanys. It’s hard to explain, I’m not talking about just cloudy or dull, the world actually looks grey and muted with a kind of temporary filter. Days like these can go on and on, add to that stress at work, homesickness and expat adjustment issues, these grey days can induce the doldrums in the most positive of people.
These are some of my tried and tested long grey German winter antidotes
Get outside and get some fresh air. Yes you will have to get bundled up like an Eskimo but you will feel better for it, being cooped up inside looking out at the grey is a world away from being outside under a huge sky (of grey).
Exercise. At home, the gym, walking to work instead of taking the bus, just move and get your sweat on. I love outdoor heated pools in the winter, even more than in outdoor pools in the summer (no chance of sunburn), swimming while the snow is falling is pretty magical.
Grab your camera. I find that grey days actually work pretty well for pictures, making them more atmospheric. And anyway there are plenty of photo editing apps and programs to help you tweak your pictures to take advantage of the available light.
Eat well. I’m a huge proponent of seasonal eating, for a lot of different reasons. You get the best produce buying whats in season, I get to rotate my recipes year round (and have more adventures in cooking) and I get to avoid the tiny supermarket produce section in favour of the local market (also it’s the path of least resistance in a country that LOVES it’s seasonal products). I try to eat (and make) warming foods that keep me satisfied and contain plenty of fruit and vegetables, Irish stew and cauliflower cheese have been top of my favourites list this winter.
Keep warm. Being cold makes me grumpy, I can’t be the only one can I? Hot food, hot drinks, wooly socks, hot water bottle, whatever it takes to keep your body temperature where you want it to be. Thermal undies? oh yes!
Be positive. No one wants to hear you whine and moan about the weather, don’t be that person, both negativity and positivity are infectious, use your attitude wisely.
And remember, winter doesn’t last forever, however much it might feel like it.
P.S. Whilst I don’t suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) I have friends that do, go see your doctor if you need to.
3 thoughts on “How to survive a long grey German winter”
I am from Wisconsin (USA), and after 44 winters there, I’ll take the dull grey hopelessness of German winters without a word of complaint! 🙂 I carry around a photo of my daughter’s VW Golf buried (just the roof is peeking out of the snow) in my parents’ driveway in March 2013. Last winter in Wisconsin a 100-year record was tied: 55 days of below-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit, so below -17° Celsius!).
Today there’s not a cloud in the sky, but I’m still going to put on my wooly socks. I so agree about getting outside into the fresh air, especially with a camera, but all your tips are good. Winter just isn’t my season after the Christmas markets close. I prefer curling up under a cuddly blanket with a good book to exercise, but maybe this year will be different. 😉
Note to self, never move to Wisconsin! It does feel so depressing when the markets are suddenly gone, I can never work out how they all manage to get into such a small place.