The Nordic countries are often being hailed as the shining example of how to live and there are some great Nordic habits that people have here that we can all learn from and lots that we can adopt as part of our own lifestyle. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, we can all have a little Nordic living in our daily lives and certainly if I ever leave Norway they are habits that I shall take with me.
Here are 10 Nordic habits that I have noticed are embraced by nearly everyone here in Norway...
Take off your shoes inside
Perish the thought that anyone in Scandinavia would come inside in their outdoor shoes!! Most homes have an area for you to leave your shoes and with so much snow and wet the house would be terrible soggy mess in no time if we didn't take off our shoes. Taking your shoes off inside doesn't stop at residential places, schools also expect the kids to remove their shoes inside and put on indoor shoes, and even my dentist gives you slippers to put on whilst you are there.
Worry less about the calories, especially when you are celebrating
Norwegians love to celebrate with cakes and desserts and this is certainly not the time to be counting the calories. After all it's only once in a while so why spoil it by feeling guilty - you are going to be getting outside tomorrow like a true Norwegian!
Get outside every day
Yes, the famous "friluftsliv" that everyone is talking about. But it really works. Even just a few minutes with the open sky and a deep breath of fresh air can clear your head and lift your mood in a way that watching TV or sitting inside simply can't.
Realise that nature improves your mood.
Whether it's your mind or body that needs a lift, the first place most Scandinavians go to is the great outdoors. Kids are taught from young that being outside in fresh air is a great mood booster, but also benefits our bodies. You don't need to be part of a running club or mountaineering up the nearest hill, you can simply step outside your door and enjoy the natural world.
Save candy for a Saturday
Lørdagkos (Saturday cosiness) is most definitely a thing here. Sweets and candy are saved to enjoy on a Saturday. Even the shops reduce the price of their candy pick'n'mix on Saturdays when they know they will get the most sales. Not only does it do your body some good, but you have a special treat to enjoy on a particular day of the week.
Treat yourself on a Wednesday
There is a culture in Norway of a mysterious thing called "Lille Lørdag" (little Saturday). It's basically giving yourself a pass to treat yourself midweek. You've got this far and weekend is a few days away so ramp up the week and congratulate yourself for getting to Wednesday.
Start the day early
Working life in Norway tends to start fairly early. By about 7.30am the roads are buzzing and people are either on their way to work or already there. Of course, the working day does end a bit earlier than many other European countries, but getting started early is something most people in the Nordics like to do.
Keep some meals simple
It's been said that the Norwegian lunchbox or "matpakke" is the world's most boring lunch. It's generally a few slices of bread with something on it such as pate or a slice of brown cheese and this is true for adults and children alike. Yes, it can be a bit boring, but it's also one less thing to think about in the middle of the week when you are concentrating on work or keeping the family moving towards the weekend.
Work to live, don't live to work
How many times has that been said!!! But most of the Nordic countries take that mantra very seriously. Family and friends are important and come before work. That doesn't mean to say that work shouldn't be of importance, but when you need emotional support or you some down time your job isn't going to be able offer help or give you advice like friends and family can.
Enjoy the different seasons
Scandinavians are very good at enjoying the winter months. In fact some people even start preparing for winter in the spring. As soon as the snow melts you start to see cross country skiers practising on their "grass skis" (skis with a wheel at each end) ready for when the snows arrive again. But Norwegians also relish the spring and summer, getting outside at the first sign of the sun.
How many of those habits do you already have? Maybe there are some that you don't have and I hope that offers you some Nordic inspiration. Perhaps there are some Nordic habits that you already have but didn't know before. I'd love to hear about them and any other ideas you have that can benefit us all.