You’ve probably heard of popular Scandinavian concepts like fika (coffee break), hygge (coziness), or lagom (living a balanced life), but have you heard of friluftsliv? No worries if you haven’t: we’re here to explain this useful, and healthy, Scandinavian concept!
Although the name might be a little hard to pronounce, the concept is very simple. Friluftsliv, pronounced free-loofts-liv, means “open air life.” It was popularized by Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen in the mid-1800s when he described value in spending time in nature to increase a person’s spiritual and physical wellbeing.
Frida Harju, a nutritionist with a passion for friluftsliv, explains: “It’s a way of living — and an essential and obvious part of the lifestyles of most Scandinavians.”
There are no set rules for living a friluftsliv-based life: the main point is making sure you get enough time outdoors. This can include hiking, mushroom picking, trail running, skiing, picnicking, walking through the woods, swimming at a summer house, and so much more.
Friluftsliv is even alive in the workplace, with many Nordic companies choosing to hold meetings and one-on-one discussions outside.
But what about the cold weather?
“We do it all year round. You get so much energy from it,” says Tina Holm, a scientist, “We have a saying in Sweden ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’.”
Fun fact: In Sweden, there are 1.7 million memberships across 900 regional and local friluftsliv-related clubs across the country.
It’s no wonder why Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway are consistently at the top of every World’s Happiest Countries list, thanks to their great outdoors habits and opportunities!
Other than a boost of endorphins, friluftsliv also helps with circulation, reduces stress, increases creativity while releasing mental blocks, and even helps with hangovers.
Do you plan to incorporate more friluftsliv into your life? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was first published on October 15, 2018.