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I think we could all use a little something positive right now, yes? Allow me to introduce you to friluftsliv, a concept you might not have heard of yet, but will definitely appreciate. After spending most of last year cramped in our homes feeling glum, friluftsliv allows us the opportunity to start off the new year on a happier, healthier note. In the great outdoors, no less!
Remember when all anyone could talk about was hygge? The Danish concept is all about feeling comfy-cozy and it spread like wildfire back in 2016. And during a pandemic that left many of us quarantined indoors, hygge tendencies definitely resurfaced, with people opting for cozy sweatsuits and comfort foods over their usual work attire and meal prep. The whole country felt the not-so-subconscious desire to be comforted—now, as we take steps forward, begin distributing a vaccine and try to engage with our newest normal, we yearn for something else.
Friluftsliv may be the new hygge, but in may ways, they’re polar opposites. Hygge is all about the comforts of home, while friluftsliv encourages getting outdoors. The Nordic concept, per BBC, translates directly to “open-air-living,” and you can pronounce the word free-loofts-liv. It’s all about embracing and finding peace in the great outdoors, however that might look for you.
Embracing friluftsliv can be as simple as a walk through your local park or as involved as a hiking trip. You can experience it with a friend or isolate yourself Walden-style and be alone in nature. This concept will appeal to anyone who might’ve found hygge comforts too stuffy—if a breath of fresh air and a long walk calms you more than a weighted blanket and movie night in, then friluftsliv is most definitely for you.
In countries like Sweden, making time for friluftsliv is all but required. You’re encouraged to close your laptop and take a break, no matter how busy your schedule might be. In the United States, we operate with a much more intense get-it-done mindset. Finish the work, then take a break. Make sure everything is perfect, then make time for yourself.
As we begin this new year and very new phase of life, keeping friluftsliv in mind can help us to find moments of peace and embrace the natural world. If you’re especially active, this might look like strenuous hikes or weekends camping, but it’s not all about movement. Being still in nature can be just as revitalizing. Whether that means perching yourself on an Adirondack chair with your coffee in the morning or strolling the boardwalk of your beachside town in the evening, any opportunity to get fresh air into your lungs and calm your mind is friluftsliv-friendly.
Below, check out a few ways you can join the friluftsliv bandwagon. And yes—you can definitely enjoy that breath of friluftsliv fresh air while wearing a mask. Please do.
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Go For A Hike
The obvious choice for anyone wanting to get in touch with nature! Grab your hiking boots and drive to the nearest trail or national park and give yourself a few hours to really enjoy your time. Don’t forget to bring some snacks!
Make Time To Sit Outside
If you don’t feel like being active, make an effort to sit in your own backyard, on a park bench or wherever you feel comfortable! Fresh air will do your mind good, even if you aren’t necessarily in the mood to run around.
Play A Sport
That said, if you thrive off of a sense of community, try playing a sport that allows you to get outdoors and move! It only takes one to friluftsliv, but you can definitely enjoy nature with a friend or team, too.
Skip the AirBnB and make your next getaway a camping trip. All you need is a tent, some s’mores supplies and good vibes, and nature will supply the rest.
Paint Your Surroundings
Friluftsliv is about really appreciating the natural world around you, not just being in it. Have a creative day, get some art supplies and paint what you see; this will give you the opportunity to really stop and appreciate.
Eat Meals Outdoors
If you can, take your lunch to the porch! Obviously, this one is weather-dependent, but if it’s warm enough to start your day with a morning coffee outside or end it with dinner under the stars, you’ll be grateful for a few minutes outside your four walls.
Take A Long Walk
Don’t try to say you don’t have enough time to give friluftsliv a go! It can be as simple as using your lunch break to take a walk around the block. During this time, put your phone away and really allow yourself to look around and appreciate your surroundings.