In Britain, summer is a time to get outdoors and connect with nature. This year, time outdoors is more important than ever. After months restricted to our homes, the chance to soak up some vitamin D and drink in some beautiful scenery is refreshing to both body and soul. So it is the perfect opportunity to get to grips with the Norwegian philosophy of friluftsliv. Norway is regularly recorded as one of the happiest countries in the world, and their love of nature plays an important role in their national sense of wellbeing.
The literal translation of this friluftsliv is “open air living” and it sums up the importance of nature to the Nordic lifestyle. Swapping the trappings of modern day life for the great outdoors is not so much a philosophy as a way of life in Norway. There's a focus on the peace and serenity of connecting with nature.
The word was originally coined by poet Henrik Isben in his poem “On the Heights”. It describes a man who seeks clarity of thought by escaping to the wilderness. The poem praises nature throughout the seasons, from winter to summer.
Whilst in the UK we may huddle away during winter months, awaiting warmer days, the Norwegians embrace their natural surroundings throughout the year. There is an emphasis on physical activity. Everything from cross-country skiing to trail running or dog sledding is part of the active connection to nature of the Nordic lifestyle.
After the stress that lockdown has brought to many of us, taking time to explore and connect with beauty and nature could provide the relief and escapism that us need. Here are some ideas for how to enjoy friluftsliv this summer.
Rather than heading to the town for lunch, grab a comfy picnic blanket and dine in the great outdoors. Picnics are a fantastic way get off the beaten track and explore further afield. Tie it into a hike or cycle ride to enjoy the British countryside along the way - you can read our blog about places to picnic in the South West for inspiration! Friluftsliv is about simplicity, so keep it easy by grabbing some crusty bread and fancy cheese to eat.
What better way to immerse yourself in nature than finding a picturesque wild swimming spot. The Wild Swimming website shares all the best places for a wild dip in the UK. If you are worried about the cold, be sure to have a warm blanket to wrap up in when you get out again. You won’t regret the exhilaration of a cold swim as you get warm and cosy afterwards.
Friluftsliv is a core value in Nordic lifestyle that is taught from a young age. Spending time as a family outdoors can help foster a love of nature and time away from screens and technology. Studies show time outdoors improves fitness and cognitive development as well as strengthening immunity.
Forest schools have become popular in recent years but the principles can be done yourself. Activities like building a den out of branches, climbing trees or making a fire encourage risk-taking and independent learning – both highly valued in the friluftsliv philosophy.
Image Credit: Annie Spratt
With so many restrictions on our travel and social activities, time spent at home has become a central part of life this year and this may remain for some time to come. It is easy to overlook your backyard as being too small or unkempt to be enjoyable, but friluftsliv is about valuing the benefits of fresh air and green space at every opportunity. And there is plenty you can do to turn even the smallest space into a place of escapism and tranquillity.
Start by clearing your garden of any unsightly weeds before considering what greenery you would like in your space. Potted plants can be hugely versatile, whilst wall climbers will enhance the sense of natural surroundings by covering up any bare walls.
Choosing the right garden furniture is essential to enjoying your garden – whether a table and chairs, a garden sofa or even some large blankets and pillows for lounging on the lawn. Adding bunting or overhead lighting can also shape the garden to give it a sense of completion.
Embracing the outdoors needn’t stop at sunset either. You can set up your outdoor space at home to create a refreshing, cosy environment for after dark. Sitting under the stars whilst wrapped up in warm blankets encourages introspection and tranquility that can never be achieved in front of the telly. Bring the indoors outdoors with cosy blankets, pretty lighting and a fire pit. Our pink and grey starry night blanket is inspired by the Northern Lights – the perfect blanket to wrap yourself up in whilst embracing the Nordic lifestyle to its fullest.
From hygge to friluftsliv, we love much that the Nordic lifestyle has to offer when it comes to designing and enjoying beautiful environments. At The British Blanket Company we are always drawing on new inspiration and design ideas to keep our homes and lives fresh. You can sign-up to our mailing list in the footer or follow us on social media to keep up with more lifestyle and design ideas as well as all the news and latest offers from The British Blanket Company.