Despite all the benefits of the Nordic countries it’s clear there are still some things that aren’t perfect, but maybe because of this, we can gain wisdom from how the Nordics manage stress and overwhelm.
1. Prioritize taking time out in the day
Make time for small moments of enjoyment to have fika or, if you are in Finland, pullakahvi (coffee and a bun). If we don’t stop, we just keep on going and going. Even something small such as making a hot drink in your favourite mug with some loose-leaf tea and a strainer, rather than just chucking a teabag in a mug with a splash of milk, can make a moment more mindful.
2. Seek out the sun, especially in the morning
If you live in northern Europe, getting enough light in the winter months can be difficult, so prioritizing getting enough natural daylight is essential. When we are outside we get a boost of brain-energizing chemicals, particularly in the morning light.
3. Live seasonally
Allow yourself to “hibernate” during the darker and colder months, and don’t push yourself to be sociable and super active if you don’t want to be. Spend that time intentionally by making your house as comfortable as possible, adding plants to your windowsill, cooking seasonal comfort foods, knitting some socks, clearing out clutter, and hunkering down in front of a good movie for some fredagsmys (cozy Friday nights in).
4. Spend more time outdoors
Make a “date” with the outside world regularly, even schedule it in your diary if that is what it takes. Seek out activities that include an outdoor element, such as joining a walking or running group, hiking, foraging, and Nordic walking (a technique that involves walking with poles to work your upper body as well as your legs).
5. Practice resilience
Everyone has it in them to overcome hard times. Remember that you are stronger than you think. Remind yourself of how far you have come and all the obstacles you had to get through as proof that you have grit and courage within you.
6. Simplify your life and try to avoid consumerism
Surround yourself with nice things but don’t fall into that trap of believing that spending money on stuff makes you happy. We’ve all been there in Ikea, coming out with another Pärkla storage case instead of decluttering. There is a fine line in between taking up a new hobby and buying an excessive amount of gear for it, so aim for the sensible lagom approach here.