Even with winter approaching fast, we can’t give a collective cold shoulder to outdoor activity.
As 2020 winds down and the days grow progressively shorter, we feel the natural tug to retreat indoors and largely remain there until spring finally rolls around in March. But with a once-in-a-century pandemic showing no signs of relenting, it’s time to rethink this approach.
Others in different parts of the world have long treated winter differently. A story which appeared in Smithsonian Magazine just last month put a spotlight on these people and places, which include the Nordic nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, as well as Canada, Germany, Japan and Lithuania. Titled “What Americans can learn from winter-loving cultures,’’ it can be read by visiting smithsonianmag.com.
These folks tend to embrace snow and frigid temperatures, and venture out for activities such as camping, hiking, ice fishing, skating and believe it or not, ice swimming.
Before you dismiss the notion of the latter because you consider it a recipe for misery, consider this: Ice swimming is most popular in the Nordic countries, especially Finland, and Nordic countries consistently rank among the world’s happiest places.
We have long grappled with cabin fever during winter, but the prospect of being inflicted with this malady pales in comparison to the possibility of contracting the coronavirus through an indoor gathering. Even with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, health experts have urged us to cancel or significantly restrict such gatherings.
That leaves few other options. But if we bundle up and remain mindful of the recommended precautions, the great outdoors gives us one to consider. Why not warm up to the idea and give it a try?