After reading through the newspaper last week I came across something I’d never heard of before: nature deficit disorder. It’s described as being quite similar to SAD (seasonal affective disorder which is a depression that comes and goes with the seasons causing lethargy, low moods, weight gain and longer sleeping patterns). Although not medically recognized, the chap who coined the phrase (Richard Louv) fully intended it to be more descriptive of the direction people are heading in. Less people are spending time outside, more people are spending time in cities and in front of computer screens. I implore you to read more about in on the Wiki page as it does make for interesting reading. But this led me into thinking: why are we spending more time indoors? What is it about our lifestyles that lures us inside away from the great outdoors? In the UK we have a bounty of country parks, national forests, outdoor play areas etc. which are generally free (or very cheap) so why aren’t we taking advantage of these? And what is so different about our culture compared to countries such as Norway and Sweden?
The Danish sensation hygge (I have a blog post about it here) has brought the difference in cultures to our attention, and generally from what I can see people are interested. But when you’re living a busy life working, bringing up children (or cats, cats count too) and trying to maintain other relationships time soon becomes short in supply. My mantra is that small changes can have the biggest impact. So I delved deeper and found the new Nordic sensation: friluftsliv.
Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) translates to free air life. It describes the Norwegian relationship with the great outdoors. Whereas hygge is about cosiness and comfort, friluftsliv is rustic and celebrates getting back outside. It isn’t going to become a word thrown about like hygge, but the philosophy behind it is something we can all get behind. And I’ve been thinking of little ways we can all bring some of the theory into practice.
Go for an evening walk
Work has finished and normally what do you do? Slump in front of the television? Scroll through Facebook until bedtime? Well, don’t. Put your boots on and go for a walk, preferably somewhere green. There are a tonne of parks and forests in this wonderful collection of countries we call the UK, so utilize them. There’s a good government website here which helps you find local parks and open spaces, find somewhere near you and go for a short walk.
Plan a camping trip
I wrote another post here on how to plan the perfect mini break, take these tips and plan yourself a camping trip! There is a wealth of camping spots in England, and if you venture up to Scotland you could maybe even try wild camping, but you have to be sure to follow their guidelines when doing so. Whatever country you may be in, give it a quick google search and I’m sure you’ll find somewhere.
Get a breath of fresh air
Time constraints getting you down? Stand in your garden and just breath. The health benefits of breathing are immense. This book is a pretty interesting read about breathing and its benefits. After all it is free air life. Make the most of the free air in your life.