The Scandinavian Self-Care Secrets That Will Improve Your Mental Health
From iconic interior style to the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, Scandinavia and its Nordic culture is where we turn for inspiration for just about any topic. I mean, there must be a reason that countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark regularly feature in the top countries for happiness each year. Right now, we’re looking inward, and focusing on setting up a healthy and sustainable routine that not only nourishes our mind and body, but helps to alleviate feelings of stress and uncertainty. We’ve been scouring the internet for the best self-care tips that we can implement into our day to give us an extra lift and just make us feel good. We’re not just referring to spa days and massages (although we’re fond of both). We’re more interested in sustainable actions that we can practice every day to build up a routine that sets us up for a life of purposefulness and joy. So, without further ado, we present you with our favourite Scandinavian self-care secrets that are great for your mental health.
A primary element of Hygge—derived from the Norwegian word for wellbeing—is comfort food. No, it doesn’t include fast food, but the Scandinavians believe that by prioritising foods that they really enjoy, their happiness increases as a result. More than just enjoying your favourite, nourishing foods regularly, the art of Hygge encourages us to set up a cosy ambience for meal times to make them special. Light a candle, bring out your favourite plates and turn on some music, if that makes you feel at ease.
Right now in 2020, social connection is limited in the traditional face-to-face sense. Some people might be finding it refreshing to take a step back from the bustle of a thousand faces on their CBD commute, while others might be yearning for lively dinner parties with their friends. We’re so lucky to be living in a world of technology and social media (as much as we need to be careful of overconsuming). If you had a movie date with your best friends planned, honour it by watching together via a video call. Pick up the phone and call or text a loved one, and don’t stop tagging each other in your fave memes. Right now more than ever, we need to keep our social circle close—virtually for now.
In Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, there are more bikes than people. They’ve got the busiest biking path in the world, as over thirty-thousand commuters ride their way to work and school each morning. Cycling for just twenty-minutes each day is not only a fantastic way to get in some exercise, but it’s been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and help you to feel calm.
This one is entirely personal, because it involves our personal belongings. We know that some people are completely happy to live with the bare necessities and love the idea of a clutter-free space while others find it really hard to part ways with items in their home. The Scandinavians have been practicing sustainable choices and treating their home like a sanctuary for years now, which means assessing the purpose and sentimental value of everything they own to determine whether it deserves a place in their apartment or could be donated to someone who could find a use for it. There’s a reason the Scandi look is all about simplicity and clean lines.
Iceland is home to the most breathtaking natural hot springs in the world, where tourists from every corner of the globe flock to experience each year. At home, you can replicate the feeling of bathing in the refreshing waters of the Blue Lagoon by simply filling your bathtub with warm water and your favourite bath salts and oils. Carve out an hour of your day to do nothing but lay in the water with a book and a candle. It’ll do wonders for your wandering mind and is the perfect pre-sleep activity.
In Scandinavian countries, some children are able to learn in forest or nature schools where the classroom is literally surrounded by the great outdoors, no matter the season. With this brings a great appreciation for nature’s beauty and ability to keep us feeling grounded and grateful for this crazy home we call Earth. Even if you have only thirty minutes of free time a day, spending it meditating in a park or walking by the beach will do wonders to clear your mind and get your mind focusing on what’s important in life.
Now that many of us are doing our jobs from home instead of the office, it’s vital that we set up routines for ourselves that keep us productive but also happy and healthy. It can take some time to transition into your new environment, and taking small breaks is something that Scandinavians credit for their high satisfaction levels. The tradition is called Fika in Sweden, and it involves taking short breaks every thirty or sixty minutes to create less stress and rejuvenate your mind.
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