Embracing friluftsliv

Posted on Jan 01 2021 in From the Editor
Emily in hat and scarf

By Emily Schilling

No, the above headline does not contain a typo. “Friluftsliv” (pronounced free-loofts-liv) is a word coined by Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen in the 1850s which literally means “free air life.” Ibsen believed that spending time outdoors enjoying nature was key to maintaining one’s spiritual and physical well-being.

Ibsen’s “communing with nature” philosophy is quite unlike another Scandinavian lifestyle concept: hygge (pronounced hue-guh). To achieve the calm, mindful state that is key to hygge, enthusiasts might hibernate indoors, wrapping themselves with soft blankets and spending time in front of a crackling fire with a cup of hot tea and a good read. Think warm and cozy, and a bit sedentary.

Although January’s frigid temperatures may have you searching for that peaceful, easy hygge feeling in your home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t balance that with some restorative outdoor activities as well. But how can you embrace friluftsliv when the weather outside is frightful? Here are a few tips:

  • Dress for the cold weather. Proper clothing is the key to comfort. Dress in layers to ensure you maintain hygge-level personal comfort while you’re in the elements. 
  • Hygge + Friluftsliv = Bliss. Create a hygge oasis outdoors with patio heaters, fire pits, and plenty of blankets. Now, get comfortable and take some time to fully appreciate the incomparable sights and sounds of a beautiful winter day. Pause and reflect.
  • Try something new. Some activities can only be done outside in the winter. So, if you’ve never skied, snowshoed or even made a snow angel before, now’s the time to knock that off your bucket list. 
  • Head out on a scavenger hunt, searching for treasures located in the great outdoors. Having that list of things you need to find forces you to examine and appreciate your surroundings.

I encourage you to embrace friluftsliv — and, more importantly, embrace life. 

EMILY SCHILLING is editor of Indiana Connection