What Is Friluftsliv Style?

What Is Friluftsliv Style?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave the past few years (and we’re not talking about hunkering down at home), you can’t pick up a home improvement or lifestyle magazine or watch a show on interior design without hearing about hygge, the Danish concept of coziness. Well, move over, hygge; there’s a new kid in town named friluftsliv. Pronounced “free-loofts-liv,” the word is a portmanteau of the Norwegian words for free, air, and life that was coined by playwright Henrik Ibsen in the mid-19th century and more or less translates to open-air living. While hygge is about bringing comfort indoors, friluftsliv is about spending time in nature. Still confused? Read on for a better understanding of how to incorporate friluftsliv into your lifestyle no matter the time of year.

Get Outside

There’s no hard and fast style when it comes to friluftsliv. Rather, friluftsliv style is simply about being outside in the fresh air, and it’s practiced year-round. “Open-air living” doesn’t mean that you need to camp or live in a tent for the rest of your life—although doing so is certainly an option if you so desire. You don’t even have to be robustly active while you’re outdoors—you just need to be outdoors for more than the five or so minutes it takes to put out the garbage or walk to the mailbox. You can experience friluftsliv in a variety of ways. Some activities can happen any time of year; for example, if you own a dog, you’ll need to take your furbaby out for daily walks no matter the season or weather. Other ways of experiencing friluftsliv are more dependent on the season.


People who live where winters are cold—think snow—often make it a point to get outside to avoid cabin fever. Winter sports offer opportunities to get both exercise and fresh air. Whether your outdoor winter passion is cross-country or downhill skiing, snowmobiling, or simply building snow people, be sure you are dressed appropriately. Start with a set of women’s thermals and add additional layers. If you’re going to be flinging snowballs or otherwise interacting with the fluffy stuff, make sure your outermost layer is waterproof or at least water resistant. Pause occasionally to appreciate winter: the bite of the cold air when you inhale and the frost when you exhale; the exhilarating feeling of being outside and then warming up after with a mug of hot chocolate.


In many parts of the U.S., spring is when we think about planting flowers, herbs, and fruits and vegetables. For some people, those gardens remain imaginary, but others can’t wait to spend time outdoors turning over soil and planting seeds or seedlings. When you get ready to plant, don’t forget gardening gloves and sun protection. Be sure to pop outside daily to check on your garden’s progress from planting to harvest time.

Spring is also the rainy season (which is good for your garden!), but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck inside when it comes to friluftsliv. Put on your raincoat and a pair of rain boots; then let your inner child out and jump in some puddles. You may not be able to wash—or splash—all your troubles away, but you can do your best to forget them for a while.


Not everyone who goes to the beach during the summer goes in the water to swim or dunk waves. Some folks like to just relax by listening to the seagulls calling and sounds of the surf and watching as the waves crash to the shore. If you’re going to spend your outdoor living time by the water, treat yourself to some sun protection swimwear. Even if you do nothing more than dip your toes in the ocean, you’ll need that much less sunscreen.

Not a water baby? Tend to the garden you planted in the spring or laze about in a hammock, all the while feeling the warmth of the sun—nature’s heat lamp—on your face. Cut some flowers and bring friluftsliv indoors. Invite a few friends over for the evening and enjoy their company as you stargaze or lounge about on your outdoor furniture. If you’re fortunate to have a fire pit, be sure to have on hand the ingredients for making s’mores. Keep a few blanket throws handy in a nearby storage basket; that way, you can be outside year-round regardless of the temperature.


Remember that garden you planted and have been tending? Well, it’s time to harvest the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor and give thanks for nature’s bounty. If you live near an apple orchard, grab a couple of canvas tote bags and spend a day with your family apple picking (don’t forget to try some fresh-pressed apple cider). It’s also the time to pick pumpkins for your fall holiday celebrations.

Although hiking is a year-round activity, many individuals find fall is their favorite season to hike or walk because the temperature is just about right; plus, the fall foliage is glorious. Regardless of whether you walk, hike, or bird-watch—another four-season activity—be sure you dress appropriately. It’s hard to appreciate the beauty outside if you’re sweating or freezing.

No matter the season or the activity, pause occasionally to be in the moment. You’ll be mentally more alert, and the exposure to all that fresh air will likely help you sleep better. Once you return home, settle in on the couch in your comfiest loungewear and hygge it up a little.

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