Have you heard about koselig – the Norwegian concept that will help you though winter?
First of all let’s look at the word itself: koselig is both a noun (koselig) and a verb (kose). It is a word that is hard to translate… we like to say that the English equivalent is cozy but the meaning is so much more.
Koselig is a concept which is deeply rooted in our Norwegian culture. I would describe it as the feeling of coziness and being comfortable, but it often involves being in a social setting with others rather than being alone. It is about being content and creating a pleasant environment. it is about intimacy and warmth. You will feel koselig from anything that makes you feel happy and evokes that warm feeling inside you. Koselig is in many ways Norway’s version of hygge because both concepts are all about feeling cozy and finding joy in the little things. Where I think koselig differs from hygge is that it is even more focused on the social aspect as well as a connection with nature and the outdoors.
Why is koselig so important to us Norwegians? With our dark and long winters, we feel the need to have something positive to look forward to and to keep us happy. This is where the concept of koselig comes in – it is a way to find joy in those moments where it can feel difficult to do so. This is especially relevant this year with everything going on in the world, so I hope this Norwegian philosophy can help you get though it as it has done in Norway for years.
Koselig is relevant all year long, but in the winter period it is especially important to savour those small moments – something us Norwegians have a lot of experience in. Changing your mindset and having a more positive approach is key, so try to focus on making winter the best it can be by fully embracing every aspect of it. Take for instance being outdoors. Norwegians go outside no matter the weather, because being outdoors and staying active is a big mood booster which again is very important especially during winter. In Norway we have the saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’ and this is a rule we live by in the colder months because we know that winter is so much more bearable if you are dressed appropriately and feel cozy.
What are the simple ways you can incorporate koselig into your life this winter? Look at what makes you feel happy and find cozy ways to enjoy yourself at home or outdoors such as playing boardgames, cooking delicious comfort food and eating it together or get outside and practice winter sports such as skiing and skating, or simply go for a crisp walk in the fresh air. Although it might be difficult to get together this winter in the usual way, finding creative ways to be social whether with friends or family is a great way to incorporate the feeling of koselig in our lives. This can be as simple as a virtual coffee-date with a friend to chat and feel connected or a walk outside while on a call with a loved one. For me, the daily walks I have with my dog Bowie is a way I incorporate koselig into my life all year round. If you need inspiration for more ways to be koselig at home, I shared a few things I am excited about for autumn and winter which might help.
Want to know more about ‘koselig’? Make sure you read the Norwegian philosophy of thriving in winter (a great article by James Ware which I was happy to get quoted in) or read my article the Scandinavian secrets to embracing winter.
The soft and cozy Bunad blanket seen in the photo above was kindly gifted by Norwegian brand FramOslo. I love how it helps me to create a koselig feeling in my home while reminding me of Norway. Add a cup of tea + good company, and I’m in heaven.
Koselig is a Nordic state of mind focusing on coziness. It is a way to embrace and enjoy winter rather than endure or suffer though it…
// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad
Just love Scandinavian everything! Maybe there’s a tiny bit of DNA………………
I love this idea. As a person with a Scandinavian grandfather, I love learning about part of my heritage.
Thank you for writing this!