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Inspire Me

Embracing The Nordic Concept Of ‘Friluftsliv’

You’re au fait with ‘hygge’ – the Danish obsession with getting cosy – but have you heard of ‘friluftsliv’?

Here, we unpick the Nordic concept that has us trading in our cable-knit socks and quirky teapots for slick shades and sturdy walking shoes.


What exactly is ‘friluftsliv’?

Translating roughly to ‘open-air living’, the concept is deeply engrained in Norway’s heritage. More than just an activity, many think of ‘friluftsliv’ as a kind of lifestyle. Traditionally,friluftsliv’ is about being outdoors as often and for as long as possible.

Where does the concept stem from?

It’s thought that Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen first coined the term in his 1859 poem, On The Heights – a work recounting a farmer’s year-long trek through the wilderness.

How can I practice ‘friluftsliv’?

While we’re not suggesting taking as hardcore approach to practicing ‘friluftsliv’ as Ibsen might encourage, we do advocate for spending more time outdoors. In Norway, unwinding in the open air is ingrained in the culture; in the UK, not so much. Ease into ‘friluftsliv’ by making best use of your lunch break and get moving (starting with a move away from your desk for 60 minutes). Don’t let weather influence your practice too much either – ward against rain with a chic umbrella.

Should I be aiming to elevate my heart rate?

You don’t have to be a hard-core athlete to fully embrace ‘friluftsliv’. Sure, signing up for a triathlon is likely get you outdoors more regularly (and bump up your heart rate too) but ‘friluftsliv’ is not exclusively about pacy workouts. You’ll make the grade with everything from a leisurely bike ride to an afternoon stroll with friends – even sitting on a bench and reading a book counts.

Will it boost my mood?

We know that being immersed in nature helps boost mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Given that Norway repeatedly ranks amongst the world’s happiest places, we’re all the more encouraged to incorporate ‘friluftsliv’ into our self-care routine – starting now.

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