Sunday 21 January 2018

Do it like the Danes

Trust (more)

It makes you feel better, saves you unnecessary stress, and trusting the people around you can make them behave better, so that trust becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Get hygge

Danes celebrate the simple pleasures in life - light a candle, make yourself a cup of coffee, eat some pastries. Be kind to yourself. See? You're feeling better already.

Don't do presenteeism

Working late is more likely to earn you a lecture on efficiency and time management than a pat on the back in Denmark. Unless you're a brain surgeon, chances are lives won't be lost if you actually leave work on time So try it.

Make your environment beautiful

The average Danish home looks like something out of a weekend lifestyle supplement and making your surroundings aesthetically appealing boosts your mood and makes home somewhere you'll enjoy hanging out.

Get a hobby

Feeling a part of something can improve mental wellbeing and studies also show that being active and prioritising leisure makes you happier and healthier and even more productive at work.

Streamline your options

Living in rural Jutland isn't exactly life in the fast lane but it turns out limiting your options can take some of the stress out of modern life. If too much choice feels like a burden rather than a benefit, then take a step back. Danes specialise in stress-free simplicity and freedom within boundaries.

Value family

Family comes first in all aspects of Danish living but even if you haven't got as much free time as our Viking cousins, you can still prioritise spending some of it with the people you care about most. Your own relatives not much copy? Borrow someone else's or create your own urban-family of friends.

Respect for equal work

In Denmark, there isn't 'women's work' and 'men's work': there's just 'work'. Care-givers are just as crucial as breadwinners and neither could survive without the other Both types of labour are hard, brilliant and important - all at the same time.


In the land of Lego, playing is considered crucial - no matter what your age. So get building; create; bake your own pastries for a hygge time; just do and make things as often as possible (the messier the better).


Life's easier this way, honest, and you'll be happier too according to studies. Okay, so we can't all influence government policy to wangle a Danish-style welfare state, but the principle still applies: Just. Share. More. Take some pastries round to a neighbour or invite someone over to your Scandi-happy home and let the warm, fuzzy feelings flow.

Irish Independent

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