The 11 Wellness Rules Scandinavian Women Know (That You Don't)
First of all, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Scandinavians know something that you don’t, because Scandinavians know everything. How to dress, how to design, how to cook, and most enviably, how to live well. So, what’s their secret? No, it’s not in the berries. It’s actually all about hygge, lagom, and friluftsliv. Let me explain.
Prounounced ‘Hoo-ga’ or ‘Hue-guh’ depending on which YouTube video you watch, the Danish concept of Hygge is centred around comfort and cosiness. It places importance on chilling out, relaxing, and mastering the art of intimacy. Practising hygge can be anything from enjoying a warm cup of tea to wearing your pyjamas all day. It’s all about what comfort means to you.
Pronounced ‘Lah-gum’, Lagom is all about balance. Remember those Kellogg’s Just Right ads that said, “Not too heavy, not too light, just right?” They owe their entire marketing campaign to Lagom. Translating to “not too little, not too much”, it advocates moderation in everything you do.
Yes, this is as fun as it sounds. A recent Finnish self-care trend, Päntsdrunk is all about removing your pants and then having a drink in the comfort of your own home. It’s a nationally celebrated pastime that the country’s ministry of foreign affairs even mentions in its guide to the country; so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
If anyone is good at braving the cold, it’s Scandinavians. Ice and snow are basically in their DNA. They’ve also figured out that being exposed to cold temperatures actually benefits your health by speeding up your metabolism, boosting your sleep quality, and reducing inflammation. If you want to try it at home but can’t find a glacier to climb, try a cold shower instead.
Because Scandinavians embrace Lagom, they like to balance cold exposure with the exact opposite technique: heat therapy. Its health benefits include increased blood flow and improved flexibility of your muscles. There are reports that in Finland, there are five million people and three million saunas, so it’s definitely a huge part of Finnish culture. If you don’t have access to a sauna, try a hot stone massage or even just dry brushing before taking a hot bath.
If you care about the health of the environment as much as your own, Plogging is a great Scandinavian wellness rule to live by. All you have to do is bring a garbage bag (biodegradable, it’s 2019) on your daily walk, jog, or run, and pick up any rubbish you see along the way.
Westerners have a hard time translating sisu, but its principals are based around determination, courage, bravery, willpower and resilience. It’s also not something to brag about—it’s just something to quietly embody. An ancient concept dating back over 500 years, sisu is all about embracing your magical hidden strength.
Pronounced "free-loofts-liv," the direct translation of this Swedish/Norwegian word is 'free air life', and it’s a wellness rule that Scandinavian women swear by. It simply means to spend time outdoors and embrace nature, whilst also emphasising the importance of seasonal locally-produced ingredients in the Nordic diet.
For those of you just home from a long day at work, Niksen might be right up your alley. Simply put, Niksen is the Dutch concept of doing zilch. That’s right, it’s the art of doing nothing at all, and it’s recommended that you practice this for a few minutes every hour.
You know those people who upload photos of Icebergs pool at 6.45AM while you’re still making a deal with your alarm clock? They are taking a morgondopp—a morning dip. It’s a Scandinavian wellness tip that must be done first thing in the morning before you even have a coffee, though, so not sure how you plan on actually making it past your front door.
Speaking of brands that owe their riches to Scandinavian wellness movements, Kit Kat might want to pay their respects to fikapaus, which means to take a break. Fika is an inescapable part of daily life in Sweden, and is all about sitting down with friends to grab a coffee, a treat, and catch up. Need a break? Have a Fika. See what I mean?