It’s a fact of life that some of the most lucrative jobs on the planet are to be had in the most inhospitable and even dangerous places. These jobs are often found in the energy sector or as part of scientific research teams. Take one of these jobs and you’ll probably save a lot more, too, as you won’t be able to find too many ways to spend your money. Just as submariners are paid more than their naval counterparts in the surface fleet, the trade-off is that they go for months at a time limited as to where they can go, what they can do in their free time, what they can eat and how they can take care of their health.

This kind of lifestyle will sound familiar to people who live in places such as Svalbard. An Arctic archipelago under the sovereignty of Norway, Svalbard is home to a couple thousand people, mostly working in the energy sector. With a harsh Arctic climate, winter averages of just of 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the constant dangers caused by co-existence with polar bears, plus the disorienting phenomena of two months of darkness and two months of uninterrupted daylight, it can be difficult to live what most of us consider to be a ‘normal’ life. In fact, even during the light months, if you want to leave the limits of your settlements and wander out into the wild, you are required by law to carry a firearm – usually a high-caliber rifle, to protect yourself for polar bears. The other side of the coin is that, should you wound or kill a polar bear in Svalbard, the case will be closely scrutinized by the police, as polar bears are a protected species.

In dark winter – one of Svalbard’s five seasons (the others being spring, summer, fall and light winter) – you’re not going to be spending much time outdoors. It’s extremely cold, there’s nowhere to go and even if there was, the perennial darkness, snowfall and threat of being attacked by bears makes it too dangerous to make all but the most essential trips. Faced with this situation for at least two months of every year, what would you do to stay sane?

People who live in such places will tell you that physical exercise is key to staying sane. In the light months, outdoor exercise can be exhilarating – sled racing, skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, snowmobiling and other sports can make you really appreciate the part of the world you live in. Even running is possible, using studded running shoes to cope with the ice. However, in dark winter all of these options become risky. Smart people have already had any home gym equipment delivered earlier in the year. Options may be limited, but you can go to Treadmill Trends to get an idea of what would suit you best. Using a combination of cardio and muscle-building exercises, you’ll give your body the work out that it needs to stay healthy. As exercise triggers the release of endorphins, you’ll also feel much happier for it, too.

You can find mental stimulation from reading and writing – one of the best ideas is to take online classes or learn a new skill at home – perhaps learn how to program, build a robot or build 3D models of things. This is all very good but there comes a time when you just want to relax. You’ve probably watched everything you wanted to on Netflix and you don’t want to spend every evening drinking (drinking alcohol every night for two months of night is not recommended at all – there are many reasons why this could be the end of you). Entertainment is such conditions requires a special level of creativity.

In some communities, bets are placed on the exact dates the rivers will break, i.e. the ice will crack and the river will begin to flow again. You can enjoy the beauty of the northern lights from the safety of your rooftop. In fact, you could get yourself a telescope and begin your hobby as a stargazer.

It’s a different way to live, but most people can survive two months of mostly staying indoors, knowing that the natural beauty gifted to them throughout the rest of the year makes up for it.