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The one thing that Dutch people and foreigners can agree on is their detest for the Dutch weather, most of the year anyway. Summer is coming to a close, and that means lots of rain and sunless days are coming our way. I personally love the fall and winter, but I know most of you don’t share that love for the gloomy weather.
Getting through months of rain and dark skies can be hard. Many people struggle with their mental and physical health during those long months. I’ve always loved the “terrible” weather, but here in the Netherlands, it’s different from anything I’ve experienced living in the Midwestern USA and NYC. So as someone who’s lived in the Netherlands for almost five years, here are some of my tips for getting through the Dutch fall and winter.
1. Always Have Something To Look Forward To
I absolutely love to travel. So having a trip planned, even if it’s just a weekend getaway, is so important to me. Even if this trip is months away, at least you have something to look forward to in the future. My partner and I will go to Germany or France for a long weekend to experience a different culture and just spend some time together. Last year we spent five days in Scotland. Minus me getting a cold, the trip was so nice. I really love these long weekends/vacations away.
2. Keep Yourself Busy
I love taking workshops. I’m going to be taking a Bossche Bol workshop soon in Den Bosch. I’m so excited! I’m going to be sharing all about it on my Instagram and Tiktok. I’ve also taken a chocolate bon bon workshop, a Christmas wreath-making workshop, a paint-and-sip workshop, and more. Not only do you get to do something fun and learn something new, but you also get to meet new people. If you want to find workshops and meetups, you can ask in your local expat Facebook/Whatsapp groups, just search on Google, or download the app called Meetup. There’s always something happening.
3. Dress Appropriately
There’s nothing worse than arriving at work completely drenched. So dress appropriately. If you go out for a walk or something, always bring an umbrella. The Dutch weather is so strange. It’ll say there won’t be a drop of rain, and then it rains. And yes, I check the weather religiously. When cycling, wear the rain pants, and jacket, and a hat. You can also wear a rain poncho. It’s better to be dry and happy than be annoyed.
In relation to this, I feel like a lot of people just complain it’s cold but don’t actually dress appropriately. I bought Merino wool undergarments to keep me warm. They are a lifesaver. I love sitting on a terrace, drinking a coffee, or going for a long walk. But if I’m not dressed appropriately, I’m miserable. Merino wool leggings and undershirt help keep me nice and toasty. Be sure to also always bring a hat, gloves, and a proper coat for the weather. This is not the time to prioritize fashion over comfort.
4. Have A Good Routine
My routine is sacred to me. I start every morning with breakfast and a coffee. I don’t rush. If I rush, I don’t feel good. I eat three meals a day and try not to skip any. I try to get some sort of movement in, whether that be a long or short walk or a gym session. I’m not always successful, but these things help keep me sane. I try to have some time for myself throughout the day like watching some Netflix or baking something. I also love to curl up to a good book. I do work for myself from home so this is much easier for me to do. So I don’t that not everyone has so much flexibility and free time like I do. Your routine can be whatever you want it to be.
5. Make The Extra Effort
Don’t forget to keep in touch with your loved ones and prioritize time with them. When you’re feeling down and demotivated, friends and family can really help pull you through. So take time to call them and/or spend time with them. It’s easy to just curl up into a ball and shut the world out. But this is not always what will make you feel good.
I hope these tips help you get through the coming months. Let us know in the comments what helps you get through the gloomy time in the Netherlands. Maybe one day you’ll become like me and actually enjoy this time of year. Or maybe you already are like me. Thank you for reading!