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Scandi Happiness Hacks to Boost Wellbeing this Spring and Beyond

Scandi Happiness Hacks to Boost Wellbeing this Spring and Beyond
15 April 2024 Samantha Anderson
Contura Scandi Happiness Hacks to Boost Wellbeing this Spring and Beyond RoosterPR

Scandinavian countries topped the World Happiness Report rankings yet again this year. As the seasons shift, lifestyle expert at Contura reveals the Scandi rituals that drive dopamine to ensure our minds are as light as the skies this spring-summer.

The winners of this year’s World Happiness Report(1), published in March 2024, will come as no surprise; Scandinavian countries were, once again, judged to be some of the happiest in the world. In stark contrast, the Mental State of the World Report(2), also released last month, saw the United Kingdom ranked as the second most miserable country in the world!

It seems that Brits might benefit from taking a leaf out of the Scandinavian’s book when it comes to boosting wellbeing. Luckily for us, Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura, Catharina Björkman, is here to share her guide to simple, Scandi-approved hacks to get us started on the path to happiness.

Catharina says: “This year’s World Happiness Report reinforces Scandinavia’s reputation as one of the happiest regions in the world; one which we are very proud of.”

“The philosophies, traditions and customs that shape day-to-day Scandinavian life play an important role in the above-average happiness levels recorded consistently in this region. Central practises include the importance spending time in nature, living life in moderation and taking a more mindful approach to relaxation.”

“From taking coffee breaks seriously and making the most of natural daylight to enjoying mindful moments at sunrise and regularly decluttering, there are several Scandi-approved happiness hacks which are easy to incorporate into your daily life and can help to boost wellbeing this spring and beyond.”

Read on for Catharina’s Scandi-inspired tips for those looking to boost their mood this spring and beyond…

Get up with gökotta

Gökotta is the perfect way to start your day feeling peaceful and positive. The lighter spring mornings provide an ideal setting for this Scandinavian practice, which is rooted in the idea of rising with the sun and spending the first moments of the day outside, taking in the beauty of nature and its chorus (especially that of the birds).

Exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and stimulate the production of serotonin, which can lead to improved sleep and boosted mood respectively(3), whilst spending time in nature has been linked to improving mental wellbeing too(4).

Whilst many might not have the luxury of being able to wake up at the crack of dawn and step out into a lush forest(!), the concept of gökotta – which is simply about waking up early to enjoy a mindful moment in nature ahead of launching into another busy day – can be practiced in many forms.

It could be as simple as a quiet cup of coffee out in your garden, a sunrise walk around the block or even just changing your alarm tone to the cheerful chirps of birdsong before basking in the sunlight and contemplating the views from a bedroom window.

Soak up the sunshine

If you’re not an early riser or gökotta just isn’t for you, look to embrace the Scandinavian philosophy of friluftsliv instead. Friluftsliv stems directly from the belief that spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial to wellbeing and, unlike gökotta, it can be practiced at any time of the day.

The arrival of spring’s longer, lighter days and warmer weather means there really is no better time to start practicing friluftsliv and reaping the rewards. As with gökotta, increased time spent outdoors soaking up the natural sunlight is believed to bring a whole host of benefits, especially to mental health(5).

An easy way to increase the amount of time you spend in the outdoors is by making a few simple adjustments to your pre-established routine – opt to sit and read your book in your local park rather than in your sitting room for example, or go for a run outside as opposed to doing it on the treadmill.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even consider taking up a nature-based hobby such as gardening, hiking, birdwatching, or even cold-water swimming.

Brave a dip

Whilst the Scandis swear by cold-water swimming year round, there is no doubt that spring can offer a more welcoming climate for any beginners looking to ease themselves into the practice.

Recent years have seen the popularity of cold-water swimming rocket around the world; however, the phenomenon is nothing new in Scandinavia, where it is a long-established tradition. Benefits of the practice are extensive, including improved mood and boosted immunity(6).

Whilst a mountain lake or calm stretch of sea are ideal spots for a cold-water swim, your local lido, a barrel filled with icy water in the garden or even just a cold shower can all be more accessible ways to dip your toe in the waters (quite literally!).

This can also be a great time to practice breathing exercises and mindfulness. Rather than letting your body launch into a state of hyperventilation at the shock of the water’s chilly temperatures, focus on controlling your thoughts and calming your breathing instead.

Spring clean (for head and home)

Enjoying time outdoors is a great way to boost mental wellbeing, however, so too is spending time indoors. Excessive clutter in the home can be hugely disruptive to the home’s function as a restorative retreat and can even have a destructive effect – mess is believed to increase levels of anxiety, decrease sleep quality and reduce productivity(7).

Lagom is a key philosophy in Sweden which, meaning ‘not too much, not too little’, emphasises the importance of moderation in all aspects of life, including home interiors.

Spring, the season of new beginnings, is a great time to embrace this philosophy and give your home a thorough clear out – for a calmer interior (benefitting both home and head!).

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the task, take a lagom approach. Sort through your home one room at a time and begin first by removing any items which no longer serve any purpose, such as books or magazines you’ll never read again or clothes you don’t like or don’t fit.

For the remaining items, assess whether they have a function. Functionality is a key staple of Scandinavian design, whether for practical use or emotional fulfilment (a sentimental item that brings joy, for example). If not, it is likely time for it to find a new home.

Bring the blooming world in

Friluftsliv is rooted in the idea that increased proximity to the natural world improves wellbeing, so as well as enjoying more time in the outdoors, try to incorporate nature into your home interiors.

Nothing says spring like a bunch of bright and beautiful flowers, and the benefits are not only surface level. Whilst the addition will no doubt add a refreshing splash of colour to your interiors, being around plants has been linked to relieving anxiety and improving mental health too(8).

Seasonal flowers such as buttery-yellow daffodils, deep violet irises, or a rainbow of tulips make a perfect choice for spring. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more hands-off approach to incorporate nature (and its benefits) into your home, houseplants are a fantastic option, with relatively little upkeep required and longer life cycles.

Freshen up with fika

Far more than just a coffee break, fika is a key part of Swedish life. It is about taking a moment to consciously stop, be present and connect with loves ones, colleagues, and friends around you over a delicious coffee (and, often, a pastry too!).

Whether at home, in the office, or out and about at the weekend, give yourself a boost of energy each day by setting aside time for this Swedish custom. It’s not just the coffee that will leave you feeling rejuvenated; when done right, taking breaks have been shown to increase energy, improve memory and boost productivity(9), whilst building bonds with those around you strengthens your sense of belonging and connection.

Scandinavians really have perfected the art of ‘work smarter, not harder’. These simple Scandi-inspired habits are ideal ways to boost wellbeing this spring and beyond.

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About Contura:
Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.

Starting at £1,495, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.

Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. All Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.

Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Association (SIA) in the UK.

Contura is a proud supporter of Eden Reforestation Projects’ efforts to restore and monitor over 241,150 hectares of land, creating jobs to support local communities and the environment in the long-term. Since 2018, Contura has funded the planting of over 170,000 trees.

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