With the pandemic still in full force indoor gatherings are not safe this winter and outdoor winter activities are where it’s at. This got me wondering how Nordic countries manage with their long winter nights, lots of snow and cold temperatures. There is a word the Scandinavians use, friluftsliv which means “open-air living” or “fresh-air life”. The word became popular by Henrik Ibsen who used it in a poem in the 1800’s.
A positive wintertime mindset is the key to enjoying the short days and cold nights of winter. Instead of thinking of winter as something to endure, think of it as something to enjoy.
There are so many Scandinavian winter mottos, one of the most popular in Sweden is Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder ‘there’s no bad weather just inappropriate clothing’. January 15th is ‘Tuplanes day” day of the tulip, they like to keep freshly cut flowers around to bring color into the home. The Finns have a phrase Kakkukahvi that means serving up coffee and cake with the idea of warming up with treats to soothe winter blues. Norwegians term Fredagskos is a weekly family and community ritual to help give you something to look forward to.
No matter what the motto enjoying the fresh crisp outdoor air is a fundamental part of their positive winter mindset. So, what activities do they like to do? Nothing groundbreaking, it’s the same activities we North Americans like to do, the main difference is they make it a daily practice regardless of the weather! Even if it just means a walk around the block, the act of getting outdoors in the winter is rejuvenating.
So, what will my family and I be doing this Covid-19 social distanced masked winter? We’ll be taking a few lessons from Scandinavians. Daily walks and runs in the neighborhood, mountain hikes in the muddy slushy snow, sledding at 10,000 feet in the Sandia’s, snowshoeing into the deep woods, hot chocolate tailgating in winter picnic areas, animal track searching next to local creeks, Christmas tree cutting in the mountains, firepit lounging in our backyard and of course downhill skiing the steep slopes up north.
I’m using the slow quiet covid days as an opportunity to get outdoors as much as possible. Never have we ever had a season all to ourselves without social commitments. We’ll be taking full advantage of all this winter has to offer. I’m calling it a #covidwin!
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