There has long been a fascination with Scandinavian culture; the combination of our love of the great outdoors, the enjoyment of simple pleasures, and an understanding of the importance of balance make it a lifestyle that many aspire to making it the perfect time to start thinking about how to best use your weekends for improved well-being.
The focus is on having a healthy work-life balance by having a clear understanding of the two factors that contribute to well-being:
- the importance of setting solid boundaries between work and home
- knowing how best to spend downtime
Read on for my Scandi-inspired guide to making the most of your weekends this spring and beyond…
Ditch the tech
Our over-reliance on technology has led to the demarcation of the workday and a ‘hustle culture’ whereby we’re expected to be contactable at all hours of the day. Whilst it can feel nigh on impossible to ditch the tech during the working week, it’s important we allow ourselves to be present and live fully in the moment come the weekend.
The weekend is our time to de-stress, rest and recuperate, nurture relationships with loved ones, engage in activities that bring us joy, and enjoy some much-needed me-time – hard to do if you’re constantly scrolling on your phone or checking emails on your laptop.
If the thought of a 48-hour digital detox leaves you feeling anxious, start by setting clearer boundaries. Try establishing timeslots, for example, checking your phone for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. On average, it takes more than two months before a new behaviour becomes automatic, but the benefits of persevering far outweigh the short-term gratification tech affords us.
Friday night family time
Ask any Scandinavian and they will tell you the same thing; Friday night is for enjoying quality time at home with family. After downing tools at the end of the week, Fridays are all about throwing on comfy clothes, getting cosy on the sofa and indulging in your favourite comfort foods. Think dishes that are easy to prepare and can be served buffet style or as sharing platters – tacos, crackers and dips, pates, cheeses and cured meats, pizza, popcorn, bowls of ice cream and other sweet treats. This is a tradition in our Home; Friday night is Movie Night!
CHECK OUT: Friday Check-in
Scandinavians are all about balance. One of our much-loved terms is ‘lagom’, meaning moderation, or not too little and not too much. So, it follows, that weekends are the perfect opportunity to soak up the benefits of time spent outdoors to make the most of not being confined to an office all day.
Whilst spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, you’ll also be allowing your body to soak up much-needed vitamin D (aka the sunshine vitamin), which contributes to good physical and mental health.
Heading outdoors offers ample opportunities to enjoy some physical exercise too. Hence, as we emerge more energised following the hibernation season, it’s time to reinstate good routines of hiking, walking, running, canoeing, swimming, or cycling, whilst also enjoying the landscapes, the fresh air, and – if you can find a buddy to join you – the good company.
And remember, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’, so even if the skies are not looking picnic-worthy, waterproofs or layers will help you enjoy the outdoors regardless of the elements.
Scandinavians love to relax and de-stress at the weekend, and one surefire way to do this is by getting crafty.
In fact, research has shown that crafting can bolster mood, improve self-confidence, and reduce stress not to mention the sense of satisfaction that can be gained from learning a new skill or creating something beautiful.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the classics – knitting, sewing, card making, pottery or macrame. All are inexpensive hobbies to take up, and there’s a wealth of information and videos online to help guide you.
Truly the perfect way to enjoy downtime with loved ones – whether old or young, you can’t help but enjoy the meditative act of creating something either useful or aesthetic.
Time for fika
Fika is more than just a ‘coffee break’, it’s a state of mind and an important part of Swedish culture. It means making time for friends, loved ones, neighbours and colleagues and sharing that time over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat.
Whilst commonly associated with the working week, there’s no reason not to enjoy fika with loved ones at the weekend. After all, taking time out of the day to pause and socialise helps refresh the brain as well as strengthen bonds.
So, no matter your schedule or what you have planned over the weekend, just remember that you’re never too busy for fika.
Any excuse to get cosy
Scandinavians need no excuse to get cosy. After all, downtime is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.
Whilst it’s tempting to pack our weekends full of dinners, drinks and gatherings with friends and family, it’s important to spread these out to avoid burnout. A good rule of thumb is to aim for one social engagement per weekend, to allow yourself plenty of downtime at the end of a busy week. And the perfect way to enjoy downtime? Simply light some candles, fire up the wood-burning stove, and snuggle up under a fluffy blanket. Use this time to enjoy your favourite boxset, read the latest best-seller or enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine.