Since 2013, the five Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland – have ranked in the top 10 countries in the World Happiness Report - so they must be doing something right!
In honour of Old Tom 12 and our love for the Nordic countries, we have put together our list of 12 Ways to be Inspired by the Nordics for a Healthy & Prosperous 2022!
1. Gökotta – Mindful Mornings
The Swedish ‘gökotta’ tradition is all about starting the day off right. The word comes from ‘gök’ for cuckoo and ‘otta’ for early morning, and it refers to the practice of rising at first light to listen to the first birdsong. Rising earlier allows you to pay attention to the beauty of the morning and create a meaningful habit. Begin your day with a little bit of peace and we guarantee it will make a world of difference!
2. Hygge - Comfortable Conviviality
You've probably heard of Hygge, but if you haven't it is essential in illuminating the Danish soul. Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there's nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.
3. Lagom - Just the Right Amount
Lagom is a Swedish term, roughly translated means “not too little, not too much – just right”. Lagom is all about moderation: it encourages us to create a happy life by choosing to live a balanced and fruitful existence.
4. Fredagsmys – Start the weekend in Style
The Swedes know exactly how to strike that balance between staying active and getting rest, and after a week of hard work they have learnt to love fredagsmys (literally ‘Friday cosy’). Lounge wear, crisps and dips, Netflix, and a tasty tipple are what it is all about. Fredagsmys is all about going easy on yourself and relaxing into the weekend.
5. Fika – Coffee, Cake and Conversation
Fika involves getting together with friends, having regular coffee breaks, ideally with pastries, biscuits or cinnamon buns. Fika culture not only helps you to remember those all-important regular breaks away from the screen in work, but also provide a cosy way to catch up with the people you care about!
6. Sisu – Resilience and Faith
Sisu is yet another of those unique, untranslatable Scandinavian words, this being Finnish for strength of will, determination, or perseverance – a sort of sustained courage and resilience. If you look at Finland’s history and add its climate, you can see why the Finns would need sisu – but at a time when we’re growing increasingly addicted to the immediate and continuous gratification of social media, and arguably less contented because of it, it’s safe to say that we would all benefit from a bit of sisu in our lives.
7. Að leggja höfuðið í bleyti - Sleep on it
Að leggja höfuðið í bleyti translates to “to lay your head in water.” While “on a pillow” might be the more logical place to rest your head, it suggests you put it in water to soak when you need to spend some time working something out or coming up with a new idea. This is kind of like saying, "sleep on it", and refers to taking time to think through your decisions.
8. Lykke -Happiness
Lykke is the Danish word for joy and happiness. The Danes have perfected the art of finding joy and happiness. By focusing on the smallest and simplest of things, we can bring joy into our lives and when we sort out the little things, it often has a ripple effect towards the bigger things.
9. Friluftsliv - Free Air Life
This Swedish word translates loosely to ‘free air life’ and refers to where different sports and activities are done outdoors while exploring and appreciating nature. The Nordics place a lot of importance on getting outside, being active and feeling free!
10. Kalsarikannit - "Pantsdrunk"
If you’re a proud homebody, “kalsarikannit” should speak to your soul. Kalsarikannit doesn't translate well to English - "underwear drunk" doesn't exactly have a great ring to it - and the concept has been misunderstood as a result. From the direct translation, American & English publications have described this as getting drunk at home alone in your underwear, with no intention of going out. Finns have explained however, that the word really refers to the kind of situation where someone might say, "I do not feel like going out to bar tonight, so why don’t we just stay here at my place and do kalsarikännit?". That is to say, you can very well do kalsarikännit together with other people, wearing comfy clothes and it does not have to refer to one’s own home; you could just as well do kalsarikännit at a friend’s house, or in a hotel room, or in some cabin, or even in a tent!
11. Mysa - Cosy Up
Mysa is a Swedish word that is almost like "cuddle". However, the difference is that you can do it with someone, alone, or even in a café – ‘to cosy up’, get comfortable and relax is perhaps the best understanding of this word!
12. Koselig - Treat Yourself
This Icelandic term refers to creating a little bit of internal sunshine during the long, dark, cold winter evenings by treating yourself to something extra or special - perhaps even a bottle of Old Tom Twelve!