Most of us will be familiar with hygge, the Danish philosophy of living a simple, cosy life for well-being. But have you heard of friluftsliv? It’s another Scandinavian concept which focuses on getting outside and reconnecting with nature. This is something that I’m passionate about where Flora’s concerned and in today’s increasingly frenetic world, I believe it’s even more important than hygge.
What is friluftsliv?
Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) literally means “free air life” in Norwegian and is all about our relationship with nature. And the value of spending time in natural locations in order to rejuvenate ourselves, mentally and physically.
Flora attended a Montessori nursery with a forest school focus from six months old and this fostered an early love of being outside and hands-on with nature. We’re very lucky to live in a village and have a house with a garden, so her opportunities to get outside have continued.
Ways to incorporate friluftsliv into your life
As a freelancer, I’m very lucky that I can take time off during the day during school holidays. We recently caught up with some very dear and longstanding friends from Flora’s nursery days and went to Shearwater Lake for a play and picnic. Part of the Longleat Estate, this beautiful fishing lake is teeming with ducks, herons, geese and surrounded by numerous buggy-friendly walking paths. Some of the paths go off into the surrounding woods, which is heaven for children to run around, hide, and build dens in.
A walk on the beach
Sadly, our nearest beaches are a good two hours’ drive away but when we do make it to one, rock pooling and crabbing are some of our (OK, Flora’s) favourite activities. There’s something about hunkering down and looking at a tiny community of sea life in microcosm that just puts everything else into perspective. Not to mention the feel-good factor that comes from breathing in the ozone in the sea air.
What better way of getting up close with nature than in a tent in a field? And I don’t mean glamping, I mean a sleeping bag in a canvas tent with a billy-can stove. Flora is going camping for the first time with the Cubs in September and she can’t wait.
Visit a farm
A work colleague and her husband have a small farm with chickens, cows, sheep and goats. We’ve been visiting them ever since Flora could walk and she’s always taken great delight in feeding all the animals, cuddling the new arrivals, and carefully collecting the eggs. It makes me so sad to hear of children who are frightened by farm animals, or who can’t even identify them.
A walk in the park
Most of our cities and towns have parks and while you may not be able to get away from traffic noise, a 30-minute sojourn surrounded by greenery and birdsong can do much to restore your equilibrium.
Time in the garden
The wonderful weather has meant we’ve been loving spending more time in our garden during the cooler evenings. Flora has been an enthusiastic follower of the tadpoles’ and baby newts’ progress in our ponds too. And if you read my gardening posts, you’ll know I’m a big fan of solar and LED lights to help add some style and atmosphere to our outside spaces. I recently came across online retailer Festive Lights* who’ve also written extensively about friluftsliv, and I’ve earmarked some lovely lights that I want to add to our collection.
We have some dragonfly light ropes woven through the branches of three trees which look quite magical so I’d like to get a few more for our other trees, both in the garden and in our orchard. And for evening dining, I think some solar powered fairy lights wound around the inside of a parasol is a genius idea.
Although we don’t have any decking, I love the idea of using these solar lights to create a pathway in the grass down to our summerhouse. Because after a few glasses of wine, any help negotiating the way from the kitchen to the bottom of our orchard is welcome!
Mud and Bloom
If you have children but no easy access to outside space then something that might help ignite their interest are the monthly gardening, craft and nature boxes from Mud and Bloom. Flora has been a subscriber this year and has loved all the activities in each box: sowing and growing, wildlife spotting, hands-on nature crafting.
Friluftsliv and me
While I’m very fortunate that I don’t waste hours commuting, I do spend the majority of my day online. Social media and digital marketing make up my world but it’s not one I want Flora to become immersed in at her age. So this is why I believe in friluftsliv, not just to benefit myself, but as an example for my daughter. Yes, she does enjoy using the iPad for research and a few games but, luckily, her continuing fascination for nature and love of being outside is a very happy counterbalance.
What do you think of friluftsliv? Is it something you agree with? How do you/would you like to incorporate it into your life?
* This is a collaborative post with information from a Festive Lights press release, meaning I received items and/or payment but all opinions are my own honest, unbiased ones.