I’ve just returned from the most restful break in Norway that culminated in the life changing decision to give up my 18 year career in publishing to teach yoga and write freelance.
The Scandinavians really know how to live. My friend’s lovely husband wisely told me the tale of the visiting Coca Cola executive who was appalled by the fact that everyone was finished by 4.30pm on a Friday and off home to cosy up Hygge style. Wikipedia describes Hygge as ‘a Danish and Norwegian word which can be described as a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’. It was all the rage last winter, with everybody and their granny embracing it and writing books about how to do it.
And cheesy as it may seem, the Scandinavians do it well! The Coca Cola guy soon learned that starting and finishing early while not being 24/7 accessible through email and social media made for a more productive, focused way of working. Our British and American culture of work, work, work, with the constant need to achieve and prove our worth, just leads to burn-out and fatigue — the very opposite of the spirit of optimism and innovation that’s essential for progress in any industry.
The Norweigans know how to live. We spent evenings at my friends’ farm playing board games while the rain lashed off the windows, getting hugely competitive over Karang, a pool type of sport where we sat around a little wooden table and belly laughed when we missed the ball completely. And I didn’t check my social media once (OK, those of you who know me will suspect I maybe did do a sneak peek).
Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget the joy of just being. So I’ve stopped feeling guilty about indulging in time for me, time to potter and enjoy the ones who mean the most to me. As autumn, my favourite time of year, approaches, I’m going to relish the joys of being cosy and happy doing nothing special. Bring it on!