friluftsliv (pronounced: free-loofts-liv)
I didn't accidentally lean on my keyboard there...this is an actual word with an important meaning. Friluftsliv is the Scandinavian word for "living close to nature" or "open air living".
Scandinavia is the region of Europe that encompasses Norway, Sweden and Denmark (other countries such as Greenland, Finland, and Iceland are sometimes grouped in here as well). The climate in this area ranges from temperate to subarctic. Winters can be long and dark, with cold and snowy weather. Perfect for being outside, right?
The Scandinavian relationship with nature looks a lot different than here in the US. Despite weather conditions that may be considered off-putting to many, Scandinavians prioritize their time outside. No matter the weather. There is an appreciation of the benefits of nature and acknowledgement that "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". The beauty of this mindset is that it doesn't really matter what you are doing outside, just as long as you are there; letting your mind wander, paying attention to nature, and letting the fresh air work its magic on your brain and your body.
Need some ideas? Since we are in the throes of winter, let's focus on some cold weather activities for you and your kids to add more friluftsliv to your life:
Go for a walk
Watch the birds looking for seeds in the snow
Have a snowball fight
Ski (nordic or alpine)
Follow animal tracks
Have a bonfire with friends
Have a picnic with hot cocoa
Build a snow fort or igloo
Bundle up and sit in the sun
Read a book outside
Shovel your driveway/sidewalk
Go on a nature scavenger hunt
Make a snowman
Go outside to draw or paint
Write your grocery list outside in the sun
Just write outside
Talk with a neighbor outside in your driveway/on the sidewalk
Go outside and look at the stars
Play pond hockey
It can feel a bit like you are swimming upstream to try and work in more outside time during the winter. We are taught that winter is a time to hunker down and count the minutes until spring, but it really should not be that way! The key to success is to keep it simple. Being outside can be as elaborate or basic as you want it to be - all that matters is that you bundle up and show up. There is nothing quite like a saunter around the block at the end of a long day to reset your soul.
Stay Wild and Free,