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Nordic working under the Summer Sun

Are you dreaming about remote working under the eternal sun on a remote paradise island? Are you thinking about getting away from the 9 to 5 with nine months of darkness and coldness from the north? All of this is possible but be aware that a fascinating phenomenon occurs to a Nordic person while relocating to a sunny island. In this article, I will let you in on my personal experience living in Tenerife for the past five months, and I'll share some of my survival tips and tricks.

Relocating to an endless summer paradise sounds too good to be true, and to honest with you, it is! It took me some time to realize that remote working can sometimes also be hard on a sunny island for a Nord! You see the sun is like the little tickle that invites you outside. Not now and then but daily and all the time! South of Tenerife rarely has any bad weather nor rainy days, as every day's filled with sunshine, warmth, and beauty. As a Nordic person growing up in an annually pretty dark country, I had no idea what would wait ahead of me on this Spanish archipelago. My worst fear was the heat. I feared that it would be hard for one to work in high temperatures no matter the air-conditioning. However, that has not been the case! I have been pleasantly surprised by the constant daily outdoor temperatures with a nice ocean breeze on the coastline, making the heat bearable and sweet. Even according to Finnish past few summer season to be abnormally hot compared to Tenerife's more moderate temperatures.

The whole mixture feels like an endless summer without the worry about what to wear tomorrow. With this comes the tricky part of a habit that is so embedded in all of us Nordic people. We tend to be very wary of the fact that we don't have much sun in the north, and every time the sun is out, we are out of the house enjoying every glimpse of the sun's warmth and gathering the necessary D-vitamin for the winter season. It's so interesting to see how we are so intensely wired to this state automatically. At first, I did not realize this, but after a month or two I realized I have been outdoors more than indoors for the first time since my childhood. It's very hard to stay indoors when the sun is shining with a constant temptation calling you outside to enjoy the sunny weather and the island's beautiful scenery!

So, here I am again waking up and sticking my nose out the window to breathe in the endless summer sun. But how can I make all of this work with work? The temptation to go out is huge, yet work needs to be done, and knowing fairly well, getting loads of sun might leave one a bit lethargic to have more energy to work. So here I have been working on the ups and downs and different formulas on how to make my schedules work the best for me. Working strictly indoors in an airconditioned room felt like being at home, and every time I stepped out of the building, I realized I had missed out on the sun. I felt like being more trapped and not benefiting so much from the beautiful weather. I felt due to my flexible schedule, the best times to work would be early mornings and late evenings when the temperatures would be lower, and my brain could focus better. But then again it felt very off for me. So, what could I do to make everything work for me, that would make me happy the most? I prefer to be in the sun and work in the sun and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. There was no magic trick to make this Nordic habit disappear so easily, so I had to go around it the best way I possibly could. It was so embedded in my psychology that getting rid of the habit seemed impossible. So, I decided taking my work outdoors is the only possible way for me to feel good, and so I did. I set up my workstation on my balcony as there was no other places or services that would offer outdoor remote workstations, which I find could be a huge business opportunity for some company. For the rest of the days, I was out in the sun filming and shooting the next marketing materials. For marketing and content-creating professionals, Tenerife and the other Canary Islands are great places to create content outdoors as part of work. Also, I realized that the only best way to create content at the end is to film during the day and edit the rest of the day when it got dark. Those are long days to work, but at the same time give more days off and work gets done faster than in general. However, be aware that technology may overheat with higher temperatures, so take good care of your precious equipment. My laptop tended to run hot daily and needed cooldown periods and coolers working areas.

As a media specialist, I see the Canary Islands as a great opportunity for content creation, sunny weather, and a source of inspiration. Would I recommend remote work? Yes, it's the best thing you could choose career-wise!

Here are my 5 Tips & Tricks to getting the remote work on, on a sunny day:

  1. Create a routine and stick with it for at least 21 days. My routine consisted of an early morning Pilates/cardio workout, a classical breakfast in a nearby cafe, following work for a few hours. Midday ocean swim and tan as a short break following the second part of the day's work. Usually, I finish the day off by meeting my fellow digital nomad friends or on my projects and gazing at the beautiful sunsets on La Gomera.

  2. Seek for a community to work with. When you see other nomads or people working, it is much easier to get more work done and your motivation stays up.

  3. If you feel stressed, take a break with a walk outside and look around you. Remind yourself where you are. You are living in paradise and see the positive side of the luxury of your work. This also keeps you motivated!

  4. Extend your networks and collaborate. Seek people around you on a daily basis and create a support network around you. In sunny countries people are very open to network and collaborate. Even getting along with your neighbors can be of a great help.

  5. Take time to relax outdoors on a daily basis. This is a luxury that not many people have in their home countries, especially Nordic people.

As a fun fact, back in the days when I studied in Tallinn, I had two Spanish flat mates that could not understand why the local people during springtime stood outside facing the sun. For them, it was stunning to see this peculiar phenomenon of Nordic people standing on bus stops, roads, or anywhere outside face facing the sun. They even found it weird. However, after their experience of the Northern long and cold winter, they realized why in springtime this phenomenon occurs, and we're also standing out facing the sun. Sun indeed is a life-giving force and makes people happier and more positive! No wonder why Mediterranean, like Spanish folks are more happier, outgoing, relaxed and easygoing.


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