We're in the thick of it. A season ripe with long dark nights, blistering cold weather, and sometimes it feels like the sun is gone for good. It can leave us feeling sluggish, unmotivated, and downright depressed.
Seasonal depression is no joke. Each year it affects millions of adults in the United States and around 5-10% of the population in Norway, a country infamous for its long winters, which is where I happen to live today.
I moved here from Texas when I was twelve, and up to that point in my life, I had very little experience with the concept of winter. Once the thrilling novelty of snow wore off, winter hit me like a brick wall. And I have struggled with bouts of seasonal depression ever since.
It took years to even semi-adapt to the perpetual polar night that pervades my calendar and mental health. At the peak of the dark season, we get just a few hours of daylight, and the going gets tough. And after trying vitamin- D supplements, light therapy, and regular therapy, the only thing that has worked is leaning into my adoptive heritage.
You see, Norwegian culture has its own special way of perseverance through the darkness- a concept that combats the winter blues and involves enjoying a slow tempo and finding gratitude in the simple things. An ideal that helps you lean into winter rather than outright reject it.
Innekos. Or the cozy pleasure of indoor living.
It's lit candles, fluffy blankets, warm wool socks, hot drinks, good reads, and doughy goods fresh from the oven.
It’s slow enjoyable dinners with friends, drawing in close with your loved ones, appreciating what you have, and taking care of the community around you.
It's a time for relaxation, reflection, and renewal as we observe the natural contrasts of life- light and dark, warm and cold, togetherness and solitude.
It's all up to you
Ultimately, innekos comes down to a choice of attitude in the face of days devoid of natural light. You can choose to view the winter season as a burden to endure. Or, you can choose to flip it around and make it something to enjoy.