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Friluftsliv, Nordic concept of fresh air life

Friluftsliv: Finding Joy in the Nordic Way of Outdoor Living


What the heck is Friluftsliv (free-loofs-leef)? It's a concept that truly resonates with me. You know those pep talks encouraging you to shift your perspective, stay positive, and appreciate the little things? Well, that's exactly how I interpret Friluftsliv.

Translated as “free air life,” “fresh air life” or open-air living,” it’s more than just a mindset—it's a way of life deeply rooted in Nordic culture. Despite living in regions with harsh climates and limited sunlight, they wholeheartedly embrace the outdoors. Whether it's hiking through breathtaking forests, skiing down picturesque slopes, or simply savoring a cup of coffee with friends in the crisp air, they make the most of every moment.

Their mantra? "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."But it's not just about the activities; it's about forging a deep connection with nature, whether alone or in the company of loved ones. It's a natural way of living that's ingrained in their culture, with some businesses even incorporating outdoor time into their work schedules.

In Nordic countries, Friluftsliv isn't just a concept—it's a way of life embraced by all, regardless of what they call it. And perhaps it's this embrace of the outdoors that contributes to their consistently high levels of happiness.  We've all heard about the benefits of spending time in nature—increased energy, improved mental health, and overall well-being. But to truly grasp the essence of Friluftsliv, you have to experience it firsthand.

Because it’s ingrained in the culture, some businesses build time outdoors into their work week or allow for flexible schedules.  Many Nordic companies provide perks or incentives for spending time outdoors or riding your bike to work and even hold meetings outdoors. There are a number of outdoor organizations in Nordic countries that encourage friluftsliv and you can even study the concept at University. 

It's something we can all incorporate into our lives, no matter where we are. Looking for ways to embrace Friluftsliv? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Explore local hiking trails.
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty of nearby bodies of water.
  • Try your hand at mushroom foraging (just be sure to do your research!)
  • Join a class facilitated by a naturalist.
  • Light up your backyard fire pit and have friends join you for drinks.
  • Eat your lunch outdoors on your patio or in a local park.
  • Take a walk in the fall and photograph the colors.

The possibilities are endless.  So, how are you embracing Friluftsliv? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

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