The coronavirus crisis has completely transformed our habits. It's not just that the imposed restrictions complicate old routines. Rather, it is a widespread change in the way we approach leisure time. The summer made it clear that the pandemic has led to the promotion of less saturated destinations, rural accommodations and, in short, places enveloped by the charm of nature. Now we dare to face the cold in our leisure time. This is precisely what friluftsliv, the Nordic formula for enjoying the outdoors in winter, stands for.
This trend, which originated in Norway and has been exported to other Scandinavian countries, is something like the alter ego of Danish hygge. If the latter bets on resorting to the warmth of the home to enjoy, the friluftsliv invites to seek satisfaction in contact with the outside.
It was the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen who, in the mid-19th century, coined the term that is so topical today. Little could the writer have imagined that the coronavirus pandemic would be the key to boosting the taste for outdoor living advocated by friluftsliv.
This trend, which has become a way of life, has a lot to do with Norwegian culture, where a positive winter mentality is practiced. In a country where on this side of the Pyrenees it might seem to us that the weather or the hours of sunshine do not accompany, its inhabitants know how to make the most of its orography, its vast and sparsely populated territories and its natural phenomena.
Contact with nature has undeniable positive effects. It improves mood and is also one of the best ways to combat sedentary lifestyles. In short, it is a matter of betting on physical and mental well-being by resorting to a scenario that favors calm and disconnection.
If we are determined to put friluftsliv into practice, we must invest. In fact, Norwegians have a popular maxim that states: "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes". So much so that the first thing to do is to have the right clothing. A good anorak, hat, gloves, scarf and appropriate footwear are basic to start with.
In any case, this taste for nature is not accidental. The beauty of the Nordic orography is unquestionable, but there is more. Unlike in other countries, where free camping is very limited or prohibited, the opposite is true here.
What is known as allemannsretten is permitted as long as it is not practiced in built-up, cultivated or protected areas.
Nordic companies themselves invite you to succumb to friluftsliv and enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of winter. Many have been offering their employees activities along these lines for decades.
Some companies even make their schedules more flexible to promote contact with nature and disconnection, which, on the other hand, is key to increasing happiness and productivity.
One of the maxims of friluftsliv is to reclaim the contact with nature, leaving aside the digital universe and the busy city life. However, in recent years, this practice, so deeply rooted among the Nordics, has undergone some transformations.
The new generations bring their particular vision and, although with detractors, technologies are also present. The friluftsliv practiced by young Scandinavians finds in mobile devices great allies to organize these days and enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter.