For almost half of the year the sun never completely sets in Central Finland. During the other half it never completely rises. I bring this up because multiple sources of self-care advice, and several journaling prompts, have suggested to light a candle when you get home. It’s a way to set a mood, to help transition from work time to personal time. I get that. It just doesn’t work that well here, or at least it doesn’t work well for me.
When it’s light out all of the time, the candle is redundant. It gets lost. We don’t even turn on regular lights, we just open up the curtains and enjoy all of the natural light that comes streaming in. During the Long Dark, though, we light candles all the time. I’ll even have one on the table next to me when I’m writing. It’s a way to make things cozy. It reduces my anxiety somehow, and cuts right through some of the seasonal depression. The Danes have a word for digging in during the winter and lighting candles, hygge, which has sparked a trend in the United States. The Finns call it kodikkuus, intimacy. It’s the same thing. It’s finding ways to make yourself comfortable in the dark.
Light a Candle When You Get Home
There’s more to this prompt, this piece of self-care advice, than the fact that a natural flame is somehow psychologically comforting. It is about making a transition from being at work to being at home. If a candle can help with that, fantastic. Because I work from home, I try to alter the lighting. When I’m working, there’s a desk lamp that’s always on even if I don’t need it. After work it goes off, and another light that I don’t use during office hours goes on. It changes the mood a bit. Along with changing he music, it helps me shift gears from one more to the other.
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