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Let us introduce you to Friluftsliv – the newest way to embrace outdoor living

Nicknamed ‘the new Hygge’, here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned to help embrace the Nordic concept of Friluftsliv

Written by High Life North
Published 06.03.2021

In 2016, ‘Brexit’ was declared as the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year, though ‘Hygge’ – meaning ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable warmth’ – was also a popular phrase that year. But as we’ve entered a new decade, it seems the Danish concept of Hygge may need to move over and make way for the Nordic ideal of Friluftsliv.

What is Friluftsliv, we hear you ask? Friluftsliv is the concept of getting outside whatever the weather, and translates loosely as ‘outdoor or open-air living’. It’s a model that has been practised in Norway for centuries but is also applied in Sweden and Denmark.

Friluftsliv was an expression popularised by the Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen during the 1800s, and was a term used to describe the benefits that could be gained for our physical and emotional wellbeing by spending time in isolated, outdoor locations. Although today this practice may need a little preparation (due to the unpredictability of British weather!), we see no reason why we can’t give Friluftsliv a go in our day-to-day lives – during the cabin fever of lockdown and beyond.

So, where to start?



Scar said it first (kinda) but they’re words we live by. There’s just no sense in embarking on any kind of outdoor adventure if you’re not kitted out comfortably and appropriately. So wrapping is up essential for any aspiring adventurers. ACAI is an incredible women’s outdoor wear brand that will have you looking and feeling Friluftsliv -fabulous.




Ok, this is admittedly one for the more adventurous among us – wild swimming. Having seen a massive resurgence during the pandemic, the endorphin rush you get from an icy dip is said to be better than any drug. In Finland, there are more than 250 winter swimming ‘centres’ open to the public, often including changing facilities and saunas, which shows just how much the practice is valued in that part of the world. So if you’re dedicating yourself wholly to Friluftsliv, why not start your day with a quick dip?



Whether breakfast, lunch or tea, take your food outdoors and boost those much-needed vitamin D levels. We all know food tastes better outside (even if it isn’t summer), and if you’ve got a garden or private outdoor space then winter barbecues can definitely be a thing – and are far more atmospheric when it’s chilly.




Winters nights are the best for stargazing. Looking up into the heavens on a clear night can awaken a sense of wonder and wanderlust in us all: taking our minds back to the people and places we’ve known before and helping us to dream about better times to come.

Here in the North East, we’re spoiled for choice with stargazing locations – once things open up again, why not venture to Kielder Observatory (or anywhere in Northumberland National Park to be honest), or a little south into the North York Moors? Both designated Dark Sky Reserves, you’ll be able to watch the night sky to your heart’s content.



Yes, it’s a message that’s come through loud and clear throughout the pandemic: get out on your daily walks. But when we look back, even those 30 minutes ambling round the houses have definitely saved our mental health.

That being said, we can’t wait to be able to stretch our wings as well as our legs, and venture out a little further back into our glorious North East landscape. Where will your hotspot of choice be first? Down by the coast at one of our 112 beaches? Or into our incredible countryside with its masses of old country houses, parks, nature reserves, reservoirs and routes to get our wellies and walking boots properly stuck into?


Take us on your Friluftsliv journey by tagging us @high_life_north





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