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17 Tips To Live a More Nordic Life

CEO Tinh Phung
You might've noticed that Nordic countries tend to rank really well when countries are compared by happiness, education, innovation, sustainability, etc. Whatever it is we do up here in the north, something seems to be...

You might've noticed that Nordic countries tend to rank really well when countries are compared by happiness, education, innovation, sustainability, etc. Whatever it is we do up here in the north, something seems to be working. So if you're curious how you can live a more Scandinavian life, here are 17 everyday tips that will get you on the right track.

Embracing the Concept of Lagom

Lagom Scandinavian design Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

If you're not familiar with the word "lagom," it essentially means just the right amount of something or the optimal point on a spectrum. This concept of finding a balance flows through most of Nordic society and culture, from the law of Jante that promotes fitting in over standing out, to Scandinavian minimalism in fashion and interior design.

Embracing Coziness with Mys or Hygge

Getting cozy together with a cup of coffee in front of the fireplace. Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Call it Mys or Hygge, it means the same thing: getting cozy either on your own or with your close ones. An example from the Nordics is the so-called Fredagsmys; when you get the family together on a Friday night, watch a movie, and "get cozy" with blankets, pillows, chips, popcorn, etc. Another example is countering a cold winter morning by brewing yourself a warm cup of coffee, putting on your warmest, comfiest sweater, and then curling up in your favorite spot to enjoy a good book or scroll through your phone while watching the snow and/or rain come down outside.

Embracing Nordic Minimalism

Nordic minimalism isn't just about design but also about having a minimal impact on our ecosystem. Reduce, reuse, recycle - in any way you can. Throw away less stuff and try to get the most out of every single item of clothing, furniture, toy, or car. Choose renewable and natural products over plastics that won't get recycled properly. Recycle consumables even if it's a little bit more inconvenient.

Recycling nook in a Nordic home Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

There are plenty of reasons to care for and preserve Nordic nature and wildlife, and we take it pretty seriously too. It's likely that you'll find a "recycling nook" in most Nordic homes - a corner or closet filled with cardboard, plastic containers, metal cans, etc., waiting to be brought out to the recycling bins. Biking is also a popular mode of transportation in many Scandinavian cities, as it's convenient, good for your health, and reduces car traffic.

Balancing Work and Free Time

A big part of the well-known Nordic happiness phenomenon is the overall philosophy of balancing work and free time. It's possible to work hard, innovate, excel, and be ambitious while also prioritizing and giving time to other important human needs such as rest, family, and friends. In fact, this approach can even produce better results in many areas. Consider working shorter days and taking regular breaks to sit down and have a cup of coffee, either on your own or with your colleagues. Show that you are willing to work hard and be loyal to your workplace, but also make it clear that you need to prioritize family or friends every now and then.

Embracing the Outdoors

Enjoying the outdoors no matter the weather Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Every Nordic child has learned to live with the weather, no matter how bad it gets. Preschools across the region insist on spending time outside, no matter the weather. There is no such thing as bad weather, they say, only bad clothes. So take a brisk morning walk, bring your kids to a local playground, or engage in a sport even when the rain is pouring or the temperature drops. Embrace the elements and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Embracing Respect and Equality

Nordic societies value respect and equality. Expand your area of interest from yourself to society as a whole. Consider what the right thing to do is in any situation, and think about what your family would think if they saw your actions. Show respect in stores, wait your turn, and offer polite gestures to strangers. Follow the unwritten rules of politeness. Treat everyone as equals and focus on leveling any male-dominated playing fields whenever possible. Embrace equality for all across as many aspects of your life as possible.

Gender Inequality Index Image Source: UN

Embracing Coffee Culture

Nordic Coffee Culture Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Nordic people love their coffee. Whenever you have someone come by your home or office, offer them a cup of coffee and sit down for a one-on-one conversation. When you have people over for dinner, it is customary in the Nordics to offer everyone a cup of coffee or tea after everyone's finished eating. Nordic people take coffee breaks throughout the day in most professions, with everyone in the workplace usually sitting together. So drink lots of coffee and enjoy the social and energizing aspects of this Nordic tradition.

Embracing Travel and Exploration

Expand your horizons and see the world. Don't take yourself too seriously when you're abroad, and try to dive head-first into and embrace local cultures and customs. Scandinavian people love to travel and tend to use up their mandated paid time off exploring warmer latitudes while filling up on Vitamin D. So go out and explore the world, experience different cultures, and make memories in new places.

Embracing Berry Consumption

Scandinavians love to eat berries, and for good reason. Berries are not only delicious, but they are also packed with antioxidants, fibers, and nutrients that can help you live stronger and longer. Enjoy a variety of native berries such as blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, raspberries, and more. Incorporate them into your diet to boost your health and add a touch of Nordic flavor to your meals.

Embracing a Shoes-Off Policy

Taking off shoes at the door Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Scandinavians stopped wearing shoes inside in the 1930s as part of a campaign to improve cleanliness and hygiene in homes. Removing your shoes at the door has several benefits, including better hygiene, a cleaner home, and longer floor life. By leaving your shoes at the door, you can enjoy a cleaner and healthier living environment.

Embracing Sauna Culture

Embracing sauna culture Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Taking a sauna might seem unusual to many, but there are good reasons for doing it. Besides the undeniable relaxation, saunas offer numerous health benefits, including strengthening the immune system. Sauna culture is deeply ingrained in Nordic societies, especially in Finland and Sweden, where people grow up sharing saunas in communal showers and sports facilities. So consider embracing this age-old tradition and experience its cleansing and social aspects, even if you choose to cover yourself with a towel.

Embracing Butter

This tip might sound surprising, but Nordic people add butter to almost every type of food, believing it is healthier than margarine and vegetable oils. Open-faced sandwiches, a local delicacy, often include a generous spread of butter. While the health benefits of this practice are debatable, indulging in delicious food is always a surefire way to live a more Nordic life.

Embracing "Fika"

Enjoying "fika" with loved ones Image Source: Shop Mr Katin

Setup casual and regular daytime (coffee) and evening (beer) "dates" with your close ones, where you sit down, chat, catch up on life, and enjoy each other's company. In Sweden, this practice is known as having a "fika" and is considered an essential part of everyone's daily life. Whether it's during the weekdays or weekends, taking time for "fika" allows you to strengthen your relationships and enjoy the simple pleasures of good company.

Embracing the Sun

The Nordic regions receive limited sunlight, especially during the winter months. So when the sun does make an appearance, it's essential to make the most of it. Take advantage of sunny days by enjoying outdoor lunches or coffee breaks in the park. Plan outings to the beach or other sun-soaking spots with friends and family. Nordic people embrace the sun whenever possible, as it brings warmth and joy to their lives.

Embracing Neutral Colors

Whether it's your home interior or your clothes, embrace neutral colors such as white, gray, black, and beige for a more balanced and less obtrusive environment. Light colors are especially important in the dark northern parts of Europe, as they help brighten up spaces during the shorter winter days. Consider incorporating neutral tones into your surroundings to create a calm and harmonious atmosphere.

Living a more Nordic life is not about replicating every aspect of Nordic culture. It's about incorporating elements that contribute to a balanced, cozy, and respectful lifestyle. By following these tips, you can add a touch of Nordic essence to your everyday life and experience the joy and contentment that Nordic societies are known for.