Again and again, Scandinavians are rated the happiest people on earth, there are many thoughts on the contributing factors, their social security systems, socialized medicine, but mostly their healthier and happier lifestyle.
While there probably isn’t a single true cause, as an immigrant and someone that has lived in quite a few other countries and travelled a lot, I’ve noticed that Scandinavians have a healthier and more self-love focused kind of lifestyle. It starts with taking care of your body, to learning to appreciating your free time and most importantly, learning to love yourself.
Many of these habits, I’ve adopted into my own lifestyle as well. Some I am still working on but here are a few that I believe can make a positive impact on your lifestyle as well.
Denmark and Sweden are some of the healthiest countries in the world. Denmark for example reports obesity rates of just 10 percent, compared to over 35 percent in some states in the USA. How? Well for instance, eating out and having take away food is not as popular here, as it is in other countries. Most people prefer cooking together at home as part of their daily hygge time. When it comes to cooking, here’s what you can do to introduce more of the Scandinavian kitchen in your daily meals: try to swap meat with fish, white bread with dark rye bread, empty carbs for fibrous vegetables. Enjoy a good breakfast full of protein and when cooking, use butter instead of oil and mainly consume much less processed food such as snacks, bars and so on.
The concept of minimalism in Scandinavia
Living in Scandinavia, minimalism becomes easy to adopt, through Scandinavian design, Scandinavian Fashion and the fact that people tend to own much less compared to other countries – perhaps also since it’s much more expensive here. Most people in larger cities don’t own cars but instead bike to get around and most importantly, Scandinavians enjoy hygge time instead of going out. It was here that I was first introduced to the minimalism concept and while I initially didn’t think it would be something for me, it slowly became. Over the years, I’ve removed the furniture that I don’t need and kept only pieces that really have value to me. When buying clothes I focus on quality, not owning too many colours or trends (perhaps that sounds weird as I am a fashion blogger?) When I feel my wardrobe is overcrowded, I donate or sell my clothes. Could you adopt the minimalistic concept in your lifestyle?
The joy of exercise
Personally I am extremely impressed by the will and ambition of Scandinavians when it comes to exercising. There is absolutely no weather condition that will stop them from doing so. As I wrote on my previous post “5 ways Scandinavia differs from other countries”, biking isn’t just a thing to do for fun, it is a way of life and the main method for getting anywhere. Even during winter time when the wind is so powerful it almost blows you away, or the rain so cold it hurts your face, you still see people struggling to bike to work. Running and yoga is also part of many people’s daily life and often people arrange to meet in groups to exercise together. So if you feel unmotivated to work out because of a little bad weather, think of Scandinavians doing it anyway.
Being in the nature
Scandinavian landscapes are extremely impressive, with countries such as Norway, Finland and Iceland voted some of the most beautiful countries in the world. Scandinavians spend a lot of time in nature, love visiting new places and appreciate every single corner of it. Nature is also used as an outdoors gym, a way to disconnect from your daily life and get some fresh air, even if it is just for a walk. Do you have any interesting nature close to where you live? Or maybe somewhere you can reach on a weekend getaway?
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Self – love, comfort and relaxation
Coming from an East European country where things are moving fast, you are constantly running, competing, striving to do your best to get a better salary to survive, the fact that Scandinavians are more laid back, easy going and relaxed got me extremely irritated when I first started working with them. For a Scandinavian it is extremely important to be surrounded by things or people that make him feel relaxed and happy, therefore toxic relationships are not a thing here, if they don’t like you, they don’t contact you. But on the other hand, they also value the relationships they have, most having a close group of friends they’ve known since high school.
As you all know, the danish concept of hygge has become popular over the last years but as much as most people like to describe it as warm socks, hot beverages and no phones, I would like to think that all these habits I’ve mentioned, will contribute not only to a healthier lifestyle but also to a hygge lifestyle, where you feel happier and more relaxed.
Would you implement any of these habits into your lifestyle?
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