The Nordic countries are renowned for their easy-going lifestyle and wellbeing. But how have they achieved such an enviable record on health, education, equality and, well… happiness?
We’re here to help you embrace the Nordic lifestyle and achieve greater balance in this topsy-turvy world.
The Little Book of Hygge (pronounced Hue-gah) by Meik Wiking defines this Scandinavian philosophy as “comfort, warmth or togetherness… the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on the sofa with a loved one in warm knitted socks…” Untranslatable into the English language, Hygge is all about taking the time to sit back and relax in a cosy and warm way, whether it’s solo or with some old friends, this is the perfect method for stepping away from your stress and settling in with a glass of wine or a hot chocolate. Why not convert a corner of your living room into a Hygge nook? With large soft cushions, blankets and candles?
We don’t mean start terrorising villages or sailing the seas in search of plunder. Viking inspired exercise routines are raising the hammer of Thor and causing a stir in the UK.
The Viking Method is the regime for anyone seeking to achieve the physique of the Icelandics by enduring a true test of determination and physical strength. The method involves crawling, kickboxing, leap-frogs and switching between aerobic and anaerobic resistance training to build muscles worthy of a Norse God.
Nordic gastronomy has been enjoying an astronomic rise in popularity the world over. Rene Redzepi’s restaurant Noma was named the World’s Best Restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, causing a serious stir in the world of fine dining.
The Nordic tradition of cooking with local, seasonal ingredients and searching for their own produce in the lush, green forests inspired others to reconsider a life of instant gratification and year-round all you can ask for ingredients. Egalitarian by nature, this style of cooking is all about simplicity and cooking from scratch. It’s healthy and full of heart!
Whereas in the UK youths might be found scouring the shops, sampling street food or taking in a film, it’s often the case in countries such as Denmark or Finland that they’ll be seen scouring the countryside for wild mushrooms or hunting for berries.
The Nordic culture combines the joy of socialising with a deep appreciation for its vast forests and majestic mountains combined with deep gulps of brisk clean air.
The cold isn’t seen as an impediment to exploration, only a challenge to be overcome. By embracing their chilly climate the Norse people have discovered a much richer relationship with the natural world, and one that brings with it the gifts of physical fitness and well- being.
The act of letting go can be a challenge in this day and age, heady with the rush of life and the need to push forward at all hours to achieve our ambitions. The Scandinavians, however, appreciate the steamy substance that is relaxations, accepting its power to increase productivity in the long run whilst stemming the flow of activity in the present.
The act of settling into a sauna and sweating out the day’s stresses is a daily ritual in the northern countries, where they dip into ice-cold pools to increase the heart rate before stripping off and letting loose as cold water is poured over hot stones, creating a classic and ancient ritual of relaxation.
By embracing a healthy lifestyle, slowing down once in a while and taking a moment to appreciate all things comfy, it’s easily possible to achieve a Scandinavian style simplicity in life.
The Norse population has consistently come top in the World’s Happiest Countries list, making them an enviable lot. By learning their ways and adopting their philosophies, perhaps we can all learn to, simply, be happy.