We’re all fairly familiar with hygge these days – the Danish principle of cosy contentment. But there are other traditions and ideas to try too

Survive like a Scandinavian

Now we approach the winter – a season that is around three hours of sunlight a day for our Scandinavian friends – we can look to Nordic traditions to help us thrive during the cold and dark.

It’s easy to call the winter gloomy, to focus on bone-deep cold and endless wet weather. It feels harder to get outside, to plan fun outings, to be sociable. But there are hidden treasures when you know where to look.

Winter rituals and ideas from the North

Swedish mysig 

  • This is the Swedish equivalent of hygge and it’s all about making your home as cosy as possible. Blankets, open fires, candles, warm food and drink – basically anything that makes your home more comfortable

Finnish kakkukahvi 

  • Like Swedish fika, kakkukahvi is the wonderful ritual of serving up coffee and cake throughout the day. It’s a great way to cultivate connection with other people, while getting a warming shot of caffeine.

“There’s no bad weather, there are only bad clothes” 

  • This Swedish phrase is eminently practical and pragmatic. It tells us not to get caught up in complaining about the (inevitable) cold weather, but instead to prepare for it so that we can be warm, dry and happy.

Norwegian fredagskos

  • Another tradition that combines socialising with nourishment, this weekly Norwegian ritual happens on Friday nights and involves curling up on the sofa together with a delicious spread of sweet and savoury snacks. Something to look forward to every week!

The sauna

  • Pretty much every Scandinavian country has their own unique take on the sauna, and it is a must for physical wellbeing during the winter. And going from warm air to colder has more and more benefits that are still being discovered.
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