You are doing this to experience the sheer joy and beauty of your surroundings — basically your goal is to enjoy the moment. By doing this you can learn a lot about yourself and your surroundings, as well as connect with the natural environment. This is the true essence of friluftsliv. TAKE A FIKAPAUS As I began writing this, I hurriedly ran to my kitchen for a cup of co¡ee that I haphazardly spilled when I pulled it away from the machine before the brew was complete. Oh, the Swedes would be so disappointed in my fikapaus. The Swedish term fikapaus roughly translates to “co¡ee break.” But it is nothing like my rushed routine. Their co¡ee break is a social activity, outside of work. In Sweden, fikapaus is so important that work is often scheduled around these breaks — and not the other way around. The event consists of co¡ee, typically accompanied by a sweet treat and can happen more than once a day. This is why Swedes have one of the highest per capita

levels of co¡ee consumption in the world. At its core, fikapaus is more than just having a co¡ee. It is about catching up with friends, sharing the joy of a short break from the monotony of the day and indulging in something warm and sweet. HYGGE HAPPY Scandinavians are not the only ones on a quest for happiness. We are all in search of greater fulfillment in our relationships, in our careers and our daily life. It so happens that they have words for these aspirations. My favorite being hygge. Hygge (pronounced HOO-GA) is a Danish and Norwegian word that exemplifies comfort, peace and connection, as well as kinship, nature and simplicity. That’s a lot for a two-syllable word! It’s about a return to the basics and focusing on what’s important with an emphasis on self-care. Although this tradition was born as a response to Scandinavian winters, it’s a philosophy that can be embraced year- round, no matter where you call home.


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