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Forget hygge, lagom and sisu. The Nordic trend we need to adopt for 2022 is ‘friskvårdstimme’ - the right to take a break

This is one Nordic ‘lifestyle trend’ that could actually improve your life. Loosely translated as ‘wellness hour’, Swedish employees can take 60 minutes a week to look after their well-being during paid working hours — anything from going to the gym, to taking a walk with a friend or getting a massage. For their employers, it cuts down on burn-out and sick leave. So, could Irish companies use it to tackle our unbalanced performance culture?

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"The Swedish concept of friskvårdstimme came about, you could say, in response to a trend of an increasingly unwell labour force."

"The Swedish concept of friskvårdstimme came about, you could say, in response to a trend of an increasingly unwell labour force."

Writer Linnea Dunne. Photo: Fran Veale

Writer Linnea Dunne. Photo: Fran Veale

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"The Swedish concept of friskvårdstimme came about, you could say, in response to a trend of an increasingly unwell labour force."

Hygge, lagom, sisu — what’s next in Nordic lifestyle trends to help determine the cushions we buy and the delicacies we devour? I suppose you could say the lockdown lifestyle has quashed any need for aspirational inspiration from abroad: the obligatory tracksuit bottoms and low-level anxiety have worked just fine for both sitting-room workouts and home-schooling, thanks very much.

As someone who’s pretty much always worked from home, I’m quite happy to keep working through emails while wearing my tracksuit bottoms, even as we leave the most extreme forms of isolation behind. But then again, perhaps that’s our greatest current lifestyle challenge in a nutshell — we’ve become so used to our protective bubbles and the frenzied stressing between Zoom calls and deadline busting that we’ve forgotten just how to snap out of it. And with around half of full-time workers in Ireland experiencing burnout and two-thirds citing the pandemic and lockdowns as significantly contributing factors, maybe that’s the epidemic we should be worrying about.


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