Instead of Embracing Hygge, You Might Want to Try Friluftsliving

Embrace outdoorsy instead of cozy this winter—here’s how.

The Scandinavians (specifically, the Danish) definitely seems to have it right with hygge, a lifestyle focused on coziness where warm blankets, hot tea, and a comfy pair of slippers are necessities.

Enter friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv). It literally means "free air life," and the concept is part of Norwegian culture. You'll find nearly a million Instagram posts tagged with #friluftsliv full of forests, gorgeous landscapes, and people hiking, canoeing, camping, and otherwise exploring the great outdoors.

The idea behind friluftsliv (and friluftsliving) is to be out in the fresh air to commune with nature, even when the weather's not great. As the days grow colder and shorter, our activity options usually grow narrower. Spending a couple of hours outdoors per week has been shown to improve stress levels and give your physical and mental health a boost (who doesn't need to improve their stress levels and health?). And if you're deciding between taking a walk or adding another hour to your daily screen time, some time outdoors—even if the weather isn't ideal—is probably better for your mental health.

If you're more of a hygge fan than a brave-the-outdoors type, there are ways to make enjoying the great outdoors more palatable. Add a little friluftsliving to your life—here's how.

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Seek out beauty

The heart of friluftsliv is feeling at one with nature, so take time to really savor your surroundings. Enjoy bright fall foliage, look for birds or other creatures, and simply take a deep breath or two.

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Make your outdoor area more comfortable

Who says friluftsliv and hygge can't peacefully coexist? Cozy blankets, pillows, patio heaters, and fire pits can help fight off the chill.

RELATED: Create the Ultimate Outdoor Patio Setup for Fall Entertaining

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Layer up

The key to comfort when you're embracing fresh air is to dress in layers, so you can add or subtract clothing as the weather changes.

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Pack a lunch (or dinner)

Eating al fresco can happen year-round. But to enjoy friluftsliv during the winter months, pack a thermos with hot and hearty foods to help keep you warm.

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Go on a scavenger hunt

If you have young kids, turn time into a game by creating a scavenger hunt. They can look for items of different colors, different types of seed pods or leaves, or the things they'd need to build their own fort. (Bonus: You can turn it into a bit of a science lesson, too!)

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Play outdoor games

Activities can get people moving—whether it's badminton and bocce, snowball fights or relay races—which helps get the blood pumping to fight off the chill.

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Try something new

Explore new outdoor activities (or revisit an old favorite) to add a little excitement to your life outdoors. Try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, snow or sand sculpting, or painting a pretty landscape.

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