By: Megan Filak
Finding “friluftsliv” is key to keeping sane during these long, worrisome days in the midst of a global pandemic. Friluftsliv, which roughly translates to “open-air living,” is the Nordic concept of spending time outdoors in all seasons to experience what fresh air can do for the mind, body and spirit. In all seasons… did you catch that part? Even during these frigid winter days. How you dress can be the difference between enjoying the cool, crisp air and… well… not.
What You Need to Know
Think bubble: The key to keeping away the cold is using layers to create a “bubble” of warm air around your body.
Layer Up: Look for layers that are easy to remove if you start to overheat. Start with a base layer. Choose a moisture-wicking material that will keep your skin dry if you become too warm and start to sweat (wet skin makes you more easily chilled). Experts recommend synthetics like polyesters or a soft, non-itchy merino wool. Stay away from cotton which will wick absorb moisture, but won’t allow it to evaporate. This layer should be snug, but not too tight.
Middle Layer: This is your insulation layer. Fleece, sweatshirts or sweaters work well here. If it’s going to be extra cold, puffy jackets with down or a synthetic filler are also a good middle layer.
Outer Layer: This layer is about blocking the cold, wind, snow or rain. This is your “shell.” If weather is mild (no wind or precipitation), then a regular winter coat is good. If you really want to stay warm, choose an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, as well as breathable to allow sweat wicked by the base layer to evaporate.
All the Rest: Make sure your hat covers your ears. Fleece gloves are good, but waterproof, insulated gloves are better and mittens made of the same material are the warmest. When it comes to your feet go for thick, non-cotton sock and boots, waterproof boots are best. Aim for shoes with a thicker sole (the more distance you put between your feet and the cold ground the better). If it's extra cold, add a scarf or balaclava to keep your face warm.
If you dress right, stepping out into the cold will feel refreshing. Slow down, watch the snow fall and experience what friluftsliv can do for you.