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Step Outside and “Friluftsliv”: Embrace Nature to Relieve Stress

Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) is a Norwegian word that means taking a positive outlook toward the great outdoors, no matter what the weather.

Spending a couple of hours outdoors each week has been shown to improve stress levels while also giving your physical and mental health a boost. Here are some fun activities to enjoy as a family:

  1. Create a cozy outdoor environment — blankets, pillows, patio heaters and fire pits can all help protect against winter’s chill, allowing you to spend time outdoors.
  2. Plan a “flying picnic” — fill thermoses with hot drinks/hearty foods to help keep everyone warm outside. Have different friends “fly-in” at designated times with their own hot drinks.
  3. Take your family on a hunt — create a scavenger hunt that includes seeking out items of different colors, different types of seed pods or leaves, or other items for a science or craft project.
  4. Set up outdoor games — activities that can get people moving—whether it’s badminton and bocce, snowball fights or snowshoe races—get the blood pumping and brighten everyone’s mood.

Here are a few more strategies for enjoying friluftsliv.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens helps us re-think the winter doldrums and what to do outdoors in Lake County has many ideas for family fun.

So turn off those screens, put on those layers, step outside and friluftsliv! As they say in Norway, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”

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