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As one of the happiest countries in the world, this Nordic nation can teach us a thing or two

Aah Sweden, the land of ABBA, meatballs and Ikea. But there’s more to it than that! Today is National Swedish Day, so what better time to discover the brilliant things about the Swedish way of doing things?

Related: These Scandi home traditions are trending on Instagram right now!

By taking a few Swedish traditions on board, you might even find yourself enjoying a happier, healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Well, so says Catharina Bjorkman, lifestyle expert from Swedish wood burning stove company Contura. She’s come up with some top tips on living Swedish. How many will you adopt?

1. Eat outdoors… all year round

Image credit: Tim Young

With all the glorious weather we’ve been having, we bet most of you will have already cracked open the BBQ to celebrate. But would you be so keen to eat outdoors in the deep midwinter? If you’re Swedish, you wouldn’t think twice!

‘Swedes can often be found enjoying an outdoor BBQ, even when it’s cold outside,’ says Catharina. ‘You don’t need a large space to enjoy eating al fresco, bring your kitchen table outside and add fairy lights or flowers for a simple and stylish look. BBQs aren’t just for burgers, either. Try grilled sardines or prawns on toast, known toast skagen.’

2. Style your very own ‘skohylla’


Image credit: David Brittain

Visit a Swede and it’s likely you’ll be invited to take your shoes off as you step through the door. Not only is this a custom in Sweden, but it’s also led to the tradition of the ‘skohylla’ – an artfully styled shoe shelf to you and me.

3. Indulge in a ‘death clean’


Image credit: Polly Eltes

As sinister as it sounds, a regular döstädning, which translates as ‘death clean’ can be very cleansing. ‘Embracing a minimalist style and getting rid of unwanted possessions are key principles, keeping only meaningful items (such as photos and love letters) that add value and happiness to your life,’ says Catharina. ‘Death cleaning aims to get rid of clutter and provide a fresh, calming interior, whilst also helping get used to the idea of letting go.’

Get it done properly – check out our care and cleaning articles

4. Make the most of ‘Allemansratten’


Image credit: Jake Melara

Allemansratten or The Right to Public Access is a big deal in Sweden, allowing its people to roam the countryside largely without restriction. ‘Embrace the “Freedom to Roam” mantra and head outdoors for a fix of exercise and some fresh air,’ says Catherina. ‘Plan a camping trip with the kids, or try hiking, climbing, kayaking or rambling… it beats pounding the treadmill at your local gym.’

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