If any place knows the icy chill of winter, it’s Sweden. Swedes welcome the winter, getting inspired to create cozy moments indoors and fearless adventures out. Let’s look at a few ways the people who gave us the Original Swedish Snus thrive all season long.
FRILUFTSLIV: the ultimate attitude adjustment
Think the problem with winter is the cold? Nope. Not according to your average, winter-loving Swedes. They might say, it’s your feelings about the cold that are holding you back. Instead, Swedes would encourage you to consider the philosophy of FRILUFTSLIV (pronounced /free-loofts-liv/); that is, “open-air life.”
Friluftsliv means bounding fearlessly into the great outdoors, no matter the weather. It means staying active and energized, embracing nature in every season and climate.
Given that almost 90% of Swedes live in an urban setting, it’s interesting that the one primal urge they all seem to heed is the call of the wild. And that means twelve months of the year—even the cold ones! So take a cue from the Swedes, layer up, and enjoy some friluftsliv.
FIKA: more than an afternoon break
When sunlight is short and nights are long, it’s easy for days to blend together. Luckily, every day Swedes gather with friends and coworkers for fika (pronounced /FEE-kuh/)—a mid-afternoon coffee-and-cake break. But fika is more than something caffeinated and sweet. It’s a daily ritual that means facing the cold winter season with the people around you.
And yes, Swedes enjoy fika the rest of the year, too. It’s a simple way to get out of your head and stay connected.
LILLÖRDAG, AKA “Little Saturday”
Lillördag (pronounced /lee-LOR-da/) means “Little Saturday,” but in Sweden it’s another word for Wednesday. The idea is that, on Wednesday after work, Swedes pause for a mini celebration. It could be savoring their snus, enjoying a glass of wine, or spending a few minutes with a favorite podcast.
Lillördag helps Swedes recognize they’ve reached the middle of the week, and that the real weekend is just a couple days away. It’s another year-round ritual that has particular power during the cold of winter.
HYGGE: coziness, inside and out
No matter how strong your lillördag, fika and friluftsliv game is, even the hardiest Swede will admit that they can’t spend every winter minute in the cold or on coffee and wine breaks. Which brings us to the idea of HYGGE (pronounced /HYOO-guh/).
Hygge roughly translates to “comfortable surroundings that give you a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
In other words, hygge means coziness—in your décor and clothes, but also in your food, your pursuits, the atmosphere you create in your home, and in the company you keep. For many Swedes, it means considering long wintry nights an opportunity to light a few candles, make something hot to drink, read a book, or enjoy a quiet night in with good friends.
As you might’ve guessed, hygge comes from the same root word as the English word “hug.” So here’s to another cozy Swedish idea that says, when the cold wind blows, give yourself a hygge.