Whether people live in the remote Arctic or in urban Oslo, they are committed to celebrating time outdoors in Norway. Image Credit: Unsplash/Scott Goodwill

The Norwegians have an answer for how they are getting through the pandemic during winter months, and it’s called friluftsliv.

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we write about an “idea” – one of the 45 words you can create from the letters provided.

Pronounced “free-loofts-liv”, friluftsliv means “open-air living” and it’s a concept that’s deeply engrained in the country’s heritage. Whether people live in the remote Arctic or in urban Oslo, they are committed to celebrating time outdoors, and here’s the kicker: they do it no matter what the weather forecast of the day says.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc to school and work routines, and upending the rhythms of daily life around the globe, the Norwegians are using friluftsliv to get through the winter months safely – and sanely.

According to National Geographic, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is credited with inventing the term in the 1859 poem, “On the Heights”, which tells a story of a farmer’s yearlong trek through the wilderness. By the end of the poem, he leaves behind civilisation for good, and trades it for Nature.

The concept of friluftsliv, however, doesn’t have to be so extreme. If spending all your days and nights outdoors doesn’t sound like something that’s possible or attractive to you, you can still channel friluftsliv by starting small. It can mean long walks with friends, picnics, a leisurely bike ride in the afternoon or walking the dog on a chilly morning. It combines the best of healthy activity and social leisure.

Researchers have long maintained that spending time outdoors boosts people’s sense of wellbeing. A 2019 study published in the UK-based journal Nature found that spending just two hours a week in natural environments, like public parks or green spaces, boosts well being and drastically reduces stress.

And it seems to be working for Norway, which is consistently ranked as one of the world’s happiest places. In 2020, it came in at number five on the United Nation’s 2020 World Happiness Report.

Would you like to participate in friluftsliv? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.