Dr. Solhaug’s observations are in line with psychological research on the benefits of being in nature, suggesting that even short periods of time outdoors improve our moods, as well as our mental and physical health.
Meik Wiking, Managing Director of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, calls these benefits “outdoorphins” and says: “If we follow people over time, we see that they are happier outdoors.” Ms. McGurk put it another way: “ For me, getting outside is really a form of self-care. I prioritize it because I enjoy it. There are days when it is more difficult to get outside than others, but I know that I will never regret going outside when I do. “
And you don’t have to live next to a Norwegian fjord to take advantage of friluftsliv. As Dr. Says Solhaug, it’s simple: “Put on enough clothes so you don’t get wet or freeze, and go out! Go to the nearest place around you that you like: in a park, by the harbor, along one River through the city, in the forest, on a roof from which you have a good view. Take it! Feel the temperature, the wind, the air. Smell! See! And above all, bring hot coffee into your thermos. “
Strategy 2: make winter special
Growing up on the Jersey Shore, I focused on the way winter constrained me: I couldn’t lie on the beach or eat on the boardwalk. But in Norway I learned to look for the opportunities winter offers.
One of these is the deliberate use of light to celebrate the darkness of winter. Families gather around the fireplace or light candles indoors. As trend watchers know, the hug of something cozy is known as a Hygge in Danish;; cozy in Norwegian. Wiking explains: “Hygge is part of the national identity and culture in Denmark. Hygge is the antidote to cold winter, rainy days and the blanket of darkness. While you can have hygge all year round, in winter it becomes not only a necessity but also a survival strategy. “
The manufacture of hygge or Koselig things is not just about fluffy blankets and warm drinks. It’s about feeling satisfied – a feeling of comfort that is not only physical but also psychological. Dr. Solhaug said her third grade daughter is regularly asked to put a log in her school bag so her class can spend part of the school day outside by the campfire with a log from each child. This idea of coming together to celebrate the darkness outside is not only a Covid-19 friendly way of collecting, but it can also be of great significance. Lighting a flame – whether candles inside or a campfire outside – becomes a mindful moment, an opportunity to pause and enjoy.
Strategy 3: appreciate winter
Changing your mindset can start with changing your mind. Try to cherish winter in your thoughts and speech. When it comes to your thoughts, start by figuring out what you like about winter. Perhaps it is the possibility of lighting fires during the day as well. Maybe it’s an opportunity to get involved in cooking, reading, or art. Maybe it’s the way the world becomes calm after a fresh snowfall. Then, whatever it is, try to consciously focus on those things. A positive attitude towards winter time doesn’t mean denying the reality of winter or pretending that you like every aspect of winter. If it snows you may need to shovel your driveway as well as the light is diffuse and beautiful. But which of them you pay more attention to makes a big difference in how you experience that snowfall.