Tag Archives: Parenting

A Scandinavian Dream: Ideas For Staying Happy This Winter

Ideas for staying happy this winter

Mosier, OR

It has honestly been a winter wonderland around here this week, with bright sun, glittering snow and afternoons spent sledding on the driveway.  But I know the harsh reality of winter will eventually set in, with prolonged stretches of the cold, gray and gloomy.  The mood around here tends to drop with the temperature, so I’ve always wondered how the Nordic countries, with their ridiculously short days and icy temps, always seem to top the World Happiness Report.  So I turned to the Interwebs to figure out why.

Not surprisingly, things like a high GDP per capita, universal healthcare, generous parental leave and gender equality play a big role.  While it’s interesting to consider how these ideas might apply to organizational management, I was really looking for tangible things I could implement to boost my family’s happiness this winter.  Here’s what I found:

Maximize natural light.  Scandinavian interior design is known for its clean lines, white-washed woods and large, curtain-free windows.  The reason?  Light.  We’re generally more alert, productive and happy when our indoor time allows for ample natural light.

Get outside.  Scandinavians don’t let the cold trap them inside.  They just bundle up and get out there.  Kids are encouraged to play outside every day and even babies are left outside to nap in their prams at surprisingly low temperatures.  Biking to school or work is common in cities like Copenhagen and the vast majority of bikers continue to get out even during the winter’s coldest months.

Enjoy some carbs.  All that hiking, biking and playing in freezing temps will burn a lot of calories.  Which means you can compensate with lovely baked goods.

Volunteer your time.  It seems that Nordic folk volunteer quite a lot, which contributes to a sense of belonging and collective responsibility.  Feeling connected and purposeful leads to greater happiness.  And volunteering generally requires getting out of the house, which fights those cabin-fever induced doldrums.

Get cozy.  While getting out is important, staying in and cuddling by the fire has its benefits too.  The Danish have a term, “hygge“, that loosely translates to “coziness” but encompasses a broader sense of sanctuary, community and closeness.  It’s about creating time and space to enjoy the moment and spend quality time with family and friends.  Crackling fires, warm candlelight and comfortable spaces are key.


How about you?  What do you do to combat the winter blues?



True confession: I tune out when you talk about your Myers-Briggs type.

personality type

lee Scott via Unsplash

I’m an INTJ.  I’m detail-oriented and set high standards.  And you’re a…oh, sorry, what?  I was checking my Facebook feed.

Yep, that’s me.  I enjoy learning about my own personality type but lose focus when it comes to the other…15?… types.  It’s like reading someone else’s horoscope: it’s mildly interesting but it doesn’t really resonate.

But Penelope Trunk recently wrote about teaching kids to identify personality types being a key factor in their ability to navigate relationships and, ultimately, find the right partners, personally and professionally.  I like this because it offers a tangible way to help kids build a very intangible skill – a sort of curriculum for teaching emotional intelligence.

And THAT resonated.

I can be hyper-analytical and demanding, so I know I have to flex my communication style to be more approachable and supportive.  That knowledge gets me a long way, without giving much thought to personality type.  But I can do better.  And helping my kid navigate the world is my number one priority.  If Myers-Briggs will help me do that, I’m in.

How about you?  What’s your experience with Myers-Briggs or other personality typologies?


Ideas I Liked This Week.

More Gourds

Columbia Gorge

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  ~  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Being a stay-at-home parent is a luxury – for your spouse.

Parenting as a Gen Xer: We’re the first generation of parents in the age of iEverything.

Jogger pants can look professional.

This breakfast keeps me going for hours: Avocado and Egg Toast

Are we Twitter friends yet?  Find me @TheMgmtMaven

The why behind my August break.

reflection #augustbreak2014

Bay Ocean Spit, OR

This month, I’m sharing a photo each day as part of The August Break, 2014.  Today’s prompt is “Reflection“, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts around this challenge.

First and foremost, I’d just like to take more interesting photos.  I’ve always appreciated good photography but I’ve never invested much energy into learning how to do it myself.  No time like the present, right?

I’m also always looking to give myself a creative boost and focusing on images instead of words seems a good way to engage my brain in a new way.  And I like the structure of a daily prompt that forces me to look at the world with a more specific eye.

This has already been a super busy summer and it isn’t slowing down this month.  A beach trip with the New York family is just around the corner, which means lots of fun but limited writing time.  (Confession ~ I actually took the photo above on our beach trip last summer but I just love the way the herons are reflected in the water, don’t you?)

And finally, if I’m being honest, I am also super distracted because my son is starting preschool in 3 weeks.  Okay, it’s only 2 days per week, for 4 hours, but…my BABY…(sob) …in PRESCHOOL…(sob)…ALONE…(sob)   So I think I’ll be using my writing practice to work through all of THAT offline.  You’re welcome.




How about you?  Have you participated in a blogging or other creative challenge?  I’d love to hear about your experience.