Sunrise today is at 7:44 am. Sunset is at 4:15 pm. We’re deeply into the time of year that I call the Long Dark. It’s not just that the days are increasingly shorter. Here is the Nordics the quality of light changes, because the sun barely breaks the horizon. It is dark in ways that I had never experienced before I moved to Finland. A lot of people have a difficult time, in terms of mental health. This is why I’m embracing it, rather than fighting it. I’m unplugging and throwing myself into projects. I’m in the process of re-reading Cal Newport’s books. So let’s discuss Deep Work and the Long Dark.
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Some of this dovetails with the Danish concept of hygge. Embrace the coziness. The fairy lights are up. I light some candles for additional ambience, and put on the most mellow, ambient instrumental music I can find. There’s a crackling fireplace on the television. I spend the days reading, and writing, and periodically going on walks.
Leaning In to “I Don’t Want To”
During the Long Dark, all I want to do is sleep. It is the one time of year when my insomnia disappears. As soon as I curl up under a warm blanket and my head hits the pillow, I’m out. It’s difficult for me to wake up, and I need a solid hour of being left alone and a lot of caffeine before I’m functional in the morning. This is on top of all of my other spoonie issues.
This forces me to prioritize tasks. I don’t have time for shallow work, busy work, and “filler” tasks. It’s imperative that I focus solely on the important, the meaningful, and the profitable. When I get to put my efforts into things that are meaningful, it’s actually energizing.
Riding Flow States
It’s easier to get into a flow state when you already feel as if you’ve slipped into another dimension. Again, there is no way to describe how surreal it is when it’s dark all the time. It’s calm, it’s quiet, and for me it’s the perfect conditions for getting into a flow state.
Since getting into a flow state is proven to create feelings of joy and satisfaction, it’s a wonderful counterbalance to the depressive effects of the Long Dark. It’s one of the reasons that I actually enjoy this time of year. Rather than dreading Finnish winter, I look forward to it. I’m going to get a lot done, and have fun doing it.
Deep Work and the Long Dark
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About Berin Kinsman
Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.