Discover the Joy of Friluftsliv
Friluftsliv. It may not be a word you’ve seen before or dared to pronounce, but chances are you’ve experienced it. It’s not as difficult to say as it may seem. Just break it down into three smaller words: free-loofts-liv. Repeat it a couple of times and then use it in conversation and impress your friends.
If you’ve ever come back from a walk in the park or a hike on a trail and noticed that you’re feeling happier, your mood is lifted and there’s a spring in your step? Then you’ve had a taste of friluftsliv.
The concept of friluftsliv originated in Norway in the 1800’s and today is a way of life there and also in Sweden, and Denmark. Loosely translated, it means “free air life” and in order to live a friluftsliv life all you need is to have a real appreciation for the healing effects of nature.
At West 5, April is one of our favourite months of the year. Spring is in the air and mother nature is on our minds as we look forward to celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd. But why not celebrate planet Earth every day, and make it part of your lifestyle! This is the essence of friluftsliv.
The beauty of this philosophy is that it’s not about running great distances or scaling mountains, you just need to be in the context of nature and appreciate it. You may have heard that Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world, and this way of living may very well be one of the reasons why.
The West 5 community shares this philosophy. It’s built on the belief that people need and want to embrace nature. Parks and greenspaces were essential to the design of our community, simply because of the positive effect they have on people. Living in a fresh and vibrant environment makes living a friluftsliv lifestyle that much easier because nature is just outside your door.
A Breath of Fresh Air
In our current reality, we are all doing our part to promote public safety and sustain a healthy community by staying at home in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That said, in most places, an hour-long walk or a bike ride, is a perfectly positive, healthy thing you can do. Now, more than ever, is the ideal time to adopt friluftsliv. During these times, make the most of your time by choosing to be mindful about the big, beautiful, natural world around you. Take note of the difference it makes in your thoughts and feelings.
Friluftsliv has been proven to positively affect mental health and lift mood. Think about a time you’ve been stressed or feeling anxious and you decided to go outside to “clear your head.” You may not have known why it worked, but you knew that it made a difference. The philosophy behind friluftsliv is that when we make time to get outside and be in nature, and leave our daily pressures behind, we move out of our internal world and connect with the larger world. We get some perspective that the little things in our world are just that, little in the big picture. This is what makes the difference in our mental health.
If you have ever questioned what would make you feel happier, give friluftsliv a try. Immerse yourself in the natural world and, for that period of time, just be in the moment. Take in the sights, sounds, even the smells of what’s around you. The rewards will be so great that you’ll want to make this an important part of your daily routine and you may even want to live closer to nature.