It’s everywhere at the moment. Isn’t it? We’re not talking about the Great British Bake Off – we’re talking about Danish Culture. Scandinavian culture and specifically Danish culture is everywhere right now and us Brits can’t get enough of it.
Whether it’s cosying up in front of the fire, with a mug of coffee in your hand and enough pastries to feed a Viking fleet (embracing hygge), you’re more conscious about recycling, spending more time and money on socialising with friends and family, or you’re spending more of your free time out on adventures. Everywhere we look Danish culture has crept silently into our lives. We’re not afraid of it and neither should you be. There are lots of important life lessons we can take from delving into the detail and researching how the delightful Danish go about their lives. Here are Well Nice’s top three lessons – starting with an eloquent quote from Helen Russell’s book A Year of Living Danishly:
They also had a great work-life balance for starters—something sorely lacking in our fast-paced city existence—as well as a welfare state that looked after everyone.
Embrace a work life balance.
Over here in Blighty we’re always told to get to the grindstone, put the hours in and that there’s no rest for the wicked. That’s all understandable and working hard is the basic principle around making a success of your life but we’re talking about your idea of success here – not society’s or your peers, yours.
After a while, a thing called burn out can occur. It happens to us all but if we work too hard we lose sight of the whole point of going to work in the first place. In Denmark, the working day tends to end at around 4:30 pm and that’s not to take into account the leaving early on a Friday trend too where you can be back home as early as 2 pm. People work fewer hours in Denmark, but their productivity remains high. How can this be? It’s good old efficiency is what it is.
In Denmark, finding the balance between progressing in a career and having a life outside of work is important. People in Denmark are given flexibility and trust is thrust upon them directly from the outset. This enables them to choose what time they start and finish work along with taking a designated lunch break at roughly the same time each day so people can spend time together and build their relationships.
Less is quite often, more.
The western world is obsessed with stuff. It’s an epidemic. People consume more than they ever have and in recent years governments have started to figure out ways to fight mass consumerism and make people more conscious of what they’re doing to the environment.
We are the advertisers’ dream and we buy a lot of stuff that quite often we don’t really need. We also believe that buying things makes us happy when the actual truth is quite the opposite. When we make a purchase of that thing we seemingly think we need our brains release a shot of the beautiful chemical dopamine. However, this is short-term and quickly after the rush subsides reality sets in and it is not pretty. Studies have been completed on the subject and scientists have started to prove that happiness is more sustainable when money is invested in things that enrich our lives on multiple levels and not just an aesthetic one.
The Danes are big believers in quality. They have less of everything but the things they have are of a much higher quality. The theory behind it is that if you place more value on something then it will mean more to you and stay in your life for a longer period of time. Buying five low-quality t-shirts off the high street will never last you as long as a single top notch version.
We know this already. You just need someone else to tell you.
Staying in is the new going out.
Going out is great, I applaud it and I encourage it but there are definitely positives to staying in – no bouncers, no drunken odd balls and no waking up the next day and finding receipts for a £400.00 drinks tab.
I don’t know whether you’ve heard but the Danish have this ideology called Hyyge. We know you’ve heard of it and this isn’t some standard article talking about it again but the Danish like staying in and it’s important to highlight that. Staying in. Staying in with friends, family or as a couple – you can stay in and have just as much or even more fun than going out.
Here’s just a couple of ideas:
- Invite your friends over for brunch at home
- Homemade pizza nights
- Film nights – we all know how mental cinema prices are
- Board game nights, you heard it here first
Whatever thing you decide to do why not give it a try next time you’re thinking about going out. Next time you’re planning on taking your significant other out on a date why not plan to stay in rather than go out. That way you’ll be able to splash out on some decent grub, a new game and a couple of bottles of something red.
It’s always good to pick out things from new cultures in an attempt to broaden your horizons and ultimately become a more modern person. Denmark and Danish culture are vastly interesting albeit not perfect but they do some things very well so why not delve into it a little deeper.