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Finnish Kaamos: 10 Tips on How to Survive Darkness During Winter in Finland

Have you heard about Finnish Kaamos (Polar nights or total darkness) during Finnish winter? It is a phenomenon that happens in the Northern and Southernmost parts of the earth. Finland has its own share of it is a Nordic country, between the months of October to December, the country is swallowed by, what seems like, a shadow of darkness.

It doesn’t look as scary as it sounds as there’s still a small glimpse of light during midday but it is not sunny or bright, just literally a glimpse. That said, around this time of the year, most people, including myself, say that they feel tired, unmotivated, and ‘heavy’ and this is the real side-effects of Finnish Kaamos. It is not an easy time of the year but like anything in this world, there is always a way to deal with this!

I’m personally a huge believer in letting go of things I cannot control and becoming in charge of things I can control. Finnish winter is harsh for many but, as we all know, the weather is something none of us can control. So, what do I do? In order to survive Finnish Kaamos, Finland winter, and my sanity – I take charge of things I can control therefore I do not spiral down the black hole which will not make anything any easier.

So, I take control of what happens during my days and brighten up my mood even though there’s no sun to do it for me. Here are my top tips on how to survive the darkness during winter in Finland.

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Finnish Kaamos: 10 Tips on How to Survive Darkness During Winter in Finland

Keep yourself busy with things and hobbies you enjoy

It is important to keep the mind busy during Finnish Kaamos or winter darkness and dwelling on things we cannot control, like the changing of seasons, will only put stress on us. 

So, it is best to find the hobbies you enjoy and keep yourself busy doing things you really love and I can assure you how big a difference it makes.

I personally go to classes in the evenings therefore I have a place to go to few times a week, meet and engage with people, and as well fuel the mind with new information.

How to find hobbies in Finland? Depending on you, there are plenty of places! I personally am studying Finnish twice a week and I found the course through Opisto Palvelu. I’m also trying to find a course to learn how to knit! At least from Opisto Palvelu, I found tons of short courses to choose from.

Fuel yourself with the right food

During Finland’s winter darkness, you’ll find yourself craving comfort foods, and it is totally normal! I often find myself craving rich and heartwarming stews and soups and as well dishes from my home country, the Philippines

This is just a response from our body that it wants to be nourished and protected from certain ailments to comes with the cold weather so it is looking for dishes that are naturally filled with sustainable nutrients like soups and stews.

It is best to cook and eat dishes that are made from nutritious ingredients to fuel our body with the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to survive the harsh winter Finland normally has.

Some of my favorite soups and stew include lihakeitto (Finnish meat soup), lohikeitto (Finnish salmon soup), jauhelihakeitto (Finnish minced soup), karjalanpaisti (Finnish Karelian stew), and siskonmakkarakeitto (Finnish sausage soup). I also often cook Filipino dishes such as tinolang manok (chicken and ginger soup), sinigang na baboy (pork in tamarind soup), and nilagang baboy (pork soup).

These are some of my favorite dishes which I cook on constant repeat all winter long!

Lohikeitto or Salmon soup to help you feel good during Finnish Kaamos!
Lohikeitto, food I enjoy cooking and eating during the Finnish winter darkness or Finnish kaamos.

Supplement with the right vitamins

Vitamin D is your best friend the whole year long! You’d be surprised how important this is and how big a difference it makes almost instantly after few days of taking them. 

In Finland, it is actually recommended to take Vitamin D every single day. They even give this to newborns and small kids as Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for humans. Basically, this vitamin helps strengthen our immune system, regulate insulin levels, and overall keeps our energies up which then enhances our mood.

Funny story, I have always been supplementing with Vitamin D the whole time I was living in Finland and when I stopped after moving to Thailand (because it is sunny there, I thought I didn’t need it), I started to have almost zero energy every single day even after a good sleep. I went to get some blood work done and guess what? I was Vitamin D deficient!

Of course, it is best to consult your local clinic and get some blood work done before supplementing with anything just in case.

Invest in sunrise lamps

If you don’t know what sunrise lamps are, it is basically an alarm clock. It doesn’t make any loud noise though and it wakes you up naturally by emitting light mimicking the sunrise. This way, you’ll wake up more energized and somewhat “naturally”.

I found mine from the second-hand store but they sell this everywhere in Finland! I honestly think it is a good investment and from personal experience, it really helps me in the mornings. By help I don’t mean I don’t hit the snooze button, I still do, I just think it feels easier to get up when you’re woken up by something bright.

Here’s one example of a sunrise alarm clock, mine is from Philips also but a very old model.

Go for outdoor walks

This is quite important though counterintuitive – going out for walks, even for a short one, helps big time not only for your health but the fresh air and whatever little “sun” we may have during the dark Finnish winter can and will brighten up your day.

My partner and I go for walks a few times a week regardless of the weather and I can assure you that 110% of the time he has to literally drag me out with tears in my eyes because that is how much I don’t want to go out. I can promise you, every time we come back from our walks, my mood changes by ten folds! I feel positive, motivated, and energized. I love it!

So, even just for 10 minutes, go out and explore your neighborhood!

Meet your friends!

The worse thing you can do during the Finnish Kaamos is to not go out. Even if you don’t want it, don’t like it, or totally not feeling it – you have to go out. One way to get your butt out of the door is to arrange social interaction with your friends. May it be a simple coffee somewhere, go for lunch, or enjoy a hobby together.

Whatever it may be, try your very best to go out and meet your friends even just one time a week or every other week! Social interaction helps our brain a lot during this dreaded time of the year and having people to talk to makes a huge difference in our mood.

Heading out to meet civilization during Finnish Kaamos or Finnish winter darkness.

Move your body: Pick an exercise you enjoy

Just like going for outdoor walks, it is important to move our body in some other form to produce happy hormones that will help us survive the darkness during Finnish winter. I personally enjoy doing home exercises with weights and as well doing yoga, both help me keep my body in a healthy shape and as well boost my overall mood.

Find an exercise you enjoy and stick with it! You don’t have to do it every day, 3-5 per week is more than enough to help your mood and wellbeing.

If you’re not sure where to start, try out Youtube where you’ll find a plethora of free follow-along workout videos (I love Sydney Cummings, MadFit, and Pamela Reif). I also use the FitOn app (paid app) for short but good workouts where I can also track my progress and join challenges.

Whatever it is, make sure you enjoy it otherwise it is just torture (at least that’s how I see it). There’s no point in doing an exercise you dislike, for instance, I hate running so I cycle instead. I don’t like HIIT workouts, so I do weightlifting instead.

The point is, if you enjoy it, stick with it. It is easier to get through an exercise you enjoy than an exercise you don’t enjoy.

Remind yourself that this is temporary

Mindset is everything during Kaamos and I can’t stress enough the importance of setting your mind in a positive state. I’m not going to lie, the Finnish winter darkness can truly eat you alive if you don’t work on it so the more you dwell on how sucky it is, the deeper the hole you go in.

After 10+ years in Finland, not all winters have been easy but my last few winters were tolerable. How? Because I remind myself every day that this darkness is just temporary. 

I set my brain to understand that darkness is part of life and we all cannot live in total darkness hence, at one point, the sun will come out and shine upon us all once again.


One of my best advice, in order to survive the Finnish winter darkness, is definitely to meditate every day or whenever you can. I meditate in the mornings to set my brain on a positive note and I say different affirmations to help me with that.

I also use apps such as the Insight Timer or my iWatch’s breathe app to help me control my breathing, clear my mind, and fill it with positive intentions and thoughts. I use this moment to talk to myself and help myself deal with the darkness by visualizing my steps to achieve a happy day.

It’s a simple method but it truly helps a lot.

Invest in the correct clothing

If you plan to head out, it is important to invest in good warm clothing. I cannot stress hard enough how big a difference it makes if you are dressed properly during winter in Finland. First of all, you don’t freeze your butt and second, you can survive the outdoors a bit longer which means you get more fresh air.

Also, indoor clothing is as important, at least I think. For example, investing in warm jumpers, warm wooly socks, and comfy loungewear makes your days indoors a bit nicer when you’re properly warm and not freezing all the time.

I’ve written an extensive post about what to wear for winter in Finland, you can read it here.

Anyways, just make sure you layer enough depending on how cold it is outside. Remember that you can also remove a layer if you feel hot but if you’re not wearing enough, you cannot add more if you’re feeling cold.

Chilling in my loungewear during Finnish winter darkness

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Here are my top tips on how to survive Finnish Kaamos or darkness during the Finnish winter.
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