Winter Struggles, by Aline Eclair Duarte

One of my biggest difficulties in adapting to the Netherlands was, of course, the weather. I arrived here at the end of December, having come from a tropical country that was in the middle of its summer, and where we have only a small variation in the length of daylight between the seasons of the year.

My body felt this blow really hard, and I felt down and tired, until I made a sincere friendship with vitamin D supplements. Gradually I started feeling better and started to adapt, but running outdoors was still a big mental challenge with the temperatures that we experience here. It was a huge fight with myself, which I only managed to win in the spring.

In my second winter, since my body had the opportunity to adapt slowly to the change of the seasons, I already had the luxury of being able to run with temperatures of -1 °C in the middle of winter, without spending an hour fighting my reluctance before finally leaving the house.

I realize much more now how our body is integrated with nature’s cycles and everything that surrounds us. I understand how important it is to give our body time to adapt to the movements of life.

So here I leave my private recipe for a (cold) Dutch winter:

  • For sunny days, sit and absorb the sunshine, even if it is only through your window.
  • For gray days and cold runs, check BuienRadar, use thermal clothes and good ear protection.
  • For every day, allow yourself time and patience; everything gets settled when you are in the right place. There is beauty and learning even in adversity.

Author: Aline Eclair Duarte, specialized in digital marketing and content creation

*This article is part of our project #NLthroughoureyes, where we publish the stories and/or photos that describe and illustrate expat’s lives in The Northern Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe) by internationals. These stories may be published in the Connect International Blog, on Facebook and Instagram pages or in The Northern Times. Any international who lives in the north of The Netherlands can participate. If you are interested, please send us an email to: and we will send you the requirements of the material. An editorial committee will evaluate the way of publication.

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Running, copyright Aline Eclair Duarte
Aline Eclair Duarte, copyright Aline Eclair Duarte