LIVE YOUR BEST FRILUFTSLIV Cre­ate mini out­door ad­ven­tures with this Scandi phi­los­o­phy.

No, it’s not a typo – it’s the Scan­di­na­vian phi­los­o­phy of out­door liv­ing. But you don’t need to live next door to a fjord to do it – you can cre­ate your own mini out­door ad­ven­tures wher­ever you call home

In the Moment - - Contents - Words: Alice White­head / Illustration: Bett Nor­ris

We’re all now fa­mil­iar with the Nordic hug that is hygge, but for many Scan­di­na­vians the idea of get­ting out­doors and con­nect­ing with nature is far more cen­tral to their cul­ture than bowls of por­ridge and Fair Isle sweaters. It’s a con­cept known as friluftsliv and it was rst pop­u­larised by Nor­we­gian play­wright Hen­rik Ib­sen in the 19th cen­tury, when he cre­ated a char­ac­ter that searched for soli­tude in nature to help clar­ify his thoughts. Loosely trans­lated as ‘free air life’, Danes, Finns and Swedes have come to re­gard it as an es­sen­tial part of their life­style.

While Nordic coun­tries o er ac­cess to acres of wilder­ness (and the oc­ca­sional moun­tain cabin), as well as sym­pa­thetic em­ploy­ers who in­cen­tivise sta to get out­side dur­ing work­ing hours, it might be hard to see how we can achieve the same slice of friluftsliv on our small is­land. But be­fore you sigh that you live in an apart­ment and can only en­joy nature in the lo­cal park, be re­as­sured that it’s less about the rugged, and more about a gen­eral im­mer­sion in nature – be it on or o the beaten track.

“Friluftsliv can be an amaz­ing view or the ac­com­plish­ment of a goal – pick­ing hedgerow fruit, go­ing for a hill­top hike, breath­ing in the ocean air,” says Nor­we­gian life coach Anne Erik­sen (­neerik­sen. dream­builder­ “But it can also be shov­el­ling snow, dig­ging in the ground or mov­ing stones. It’s the free­dom not to think or worry, to just ‘be’ and watch, and mas­ter your next step,” she ex­plains.

Heather Ricks, a Scot­tish-born writer who has been liv­ing in Swe­den since 2004, agrees that friluftsliv is more of a way of life than a pas­time. “That’s the beauty of it: there is no bound­ary to what it con­sti­tutes,” she says.

“In many ways, it is a state of mind or a way of think­ing, more than what you ‘do’.”

In a world of tech, tweets and be­ing stuck at our desks, get­ting into nature can have im­por­tant body bene ts. But as well as the phys­i­cal virtues of mov­ing across di er­ent ter­rain, it can also boost our men­tal health. “Putting down the phone or lap­top and be­ing out­side cre­ates a sense of pres­ence, brings fam­i­lies to­gether and helps us for­get our busy lives for a mo­ment,” says Is­abella Arendt from The Hap­pi­ness Re­search In­sti­tute in Den­mark (hap­pi­ness­re­searchin­sti­ “Find­ing peace and quiet and liv­ing an ac­tive and healthy life are all fac­tors in in­creas­ing hap­pi­ness.”

Friluftsliv isn’t just about a sense of calm though. “Be­ing in nature helps you take risks, take chances, do some­thing un­ex­pected and step out of your com­fort zone,” says nu­tri­tional ther­a­pist and Scan­di­navia’s ‘long-life guru’, Thor­b­jörg Haf­steins­dót­tir (www.thor­b­ “For me, friluftsliv also brings courage and men­tal strength.”

Turn the page to nd how you can live your best friluftsliv, wher­ever you are...

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