Winter is in full swing. For many of us, including yours truly, this time of year means shorter days and longer periods of darkness. And with the cold and decreased sunlight comes another dark and lonely visitor – seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It is estimated that millions of Americans will experience SAD, a common disorder where people have repetitive depressive episodes, most often during the darker, colder months of the year.
Seasonal affective disorder doesn’t just occur in the U.S., it impacts people all around the world. In most extreme places, like Norway, people experience prolonged darkness for several weeks (the sun never rises above the horizon for weeks – let that sink in). So it’s no wonder that research has reported a SAD incidence of 14% in Oslo, Norway, compared with just 4.7% in New York City.
Knowing how bad the Norwegians have it, can make winters in the U.S. Midwest a bit more tolerable. But do the Norwegians really have it that bad? Maybe not. The irony is that Norwegians are some of the happiest people on the planet. So how can a whole country that experiences extreme darkness for weeks (and sometimes months) be so happy?
The answer may lie in the concept of koselig – the Norwegian superpower that turns the cold and darkness into something warm and cozy. To be specific, the practice of koselig has Norwegians spending their darkest months creating their own light and warmth from within. Instead of giving into the darkness and hibernating, they design inviting indoor spaces, prioritize social connections and enjoy nature and outdoor activities. By embracing koselig, they are able to counter the darkness and foster a sense of comfort and togetherness during a time that would otherwise be dark, dreary and lonely.
So if the dark and cold winter has you feeling a little down, try creating your own version of koselig by celebrating the simple pleasures in life – and here are 9 ways to do just that!
9 Ways to Practice Koselig
- Candlelight Glow – Norwegians love to create a cozy ambiance through candlelight, whether it’s a family dinner or a quiet evening at home. And the more candles, the better. Just be sure to extinguish any real flames before you head out for your outdoor activities!
- Warm and Tasty Beverages – Steaming mugs of hot chocolate and soothing herbal teas are just what Jack Frost ordered to elevate the koselig experience.
- A Natural Retreat – Embracing the great outdoors is a staple in Norway and for koselig living. Whether it’s a leisurely hike in the woods or a tranquil lakeside picnic (with warm coats and thick blankets, of course!), connecting with nature is a vital part of Norwegian coziness.
- Toasty Toes and Tops – Bundling up in snug, woolen socks and sweaters is a must for achieving the ultimate koselig vibe – it’s all about being cozy, toasty, and stylish. Hmm, après ski anyone?
- Social Snuggling – Norwegians cherish quality time with loved ones. Gathering around the fireplace for meaningful conversations or sharing a homemade meal with friends is a quintessential koselig affair.
- Culinary Comforts – Traditional Norwegian comfort foods like “rømmegrøt” (sour cream porridge) and “skillingsboller” (cinnamon buns) are guaranteed to warm you from head to toe. But if you’re all out of Norwegian comfort foods, a few of your local favorites should do the trick!
- Book Nooks – Curling up with a captivating book in a quaint and cozy corner is a beloved pastime that can turn any cold, dark and blustery night into an evening of quiet luxury.
- Seasonal Celebrations – Whether it’s decorating homes with twinkling lights during Christmas or hosting a midwinter soirée, Norwegians excel at infusing festivities with an extra dose of koselig. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you now have one more excuse to decorate.
- Practice Gratitude – Above all, koselig is about gratitude. Taking a moment to appreciate the small, joyful moments in life….that is what truly embodies the Norwegian spirit of coziness.
So, there you have it – a glimpse into the warm and fuzzy world of koselig. Make koselig your own winter superpower and create a little magical coziness today!