Finnish Sisu: the key to inner strength in difficult times

Finnish Sisu: the key to inner strength in difficult times
You know this feeling: you are going through a difficult period. To overcome this – at first sight – insurmountable situation, you go very deep. You look back on this experience in amazement and wonder: where did I get that power? This conscious force is what the Finns call Sisu .

No matter what challenges you face – be they physical, mental or emotional – Sisu is a vital source of courage and positivity to help you survive anything – Justyn Barnes.

Do you need tips to strengthen your resilience? The solution may well come from Finland!

What is Sisu?

Sisu ( pronounced si-zoe ) as a term cannot really be translated or described in one word. It is often characterized as a form of resilience combined with bravery and perseverance. To better understand this, let’s look back to the history of Finland. In a region where winters are particularly long, the Finns know better than anyone how to survive harsh and difficult conditions. A good dose of perseverance, willpower and a certain modesty, still characterize the character of the Finns to this day.

As happy as a Finn!

Finnish Sisu: the key to inner strength in difficult times

According to the 2017-2019 edition of the World of Happiness Report, Finland is home to the happiest people on the planet. One look at the VisitFinland website and you will soon understand that they are real bon vivant in a healthy way. But what makes them so resilient? It’s all in their way of life. Here are 5 tips that they warmly recommend to us!

1. Movement as medicine

Just like the other Scandinavian countries, Finland enjoys breathtakingly beautiful nature. It invites to numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, swimming, sailing, kayaking and much more! Sun, rain, snow or fog, it doesn’t matter to them. Finns love exercise and preferably all, in the fresh air. You can also apply almost all of these sports here. Find an outdoor activity you enjoy and go for it!

2. Nature as therapy

Nature is the greatest place to heal and recharge

Apparently it is not uncommon in Scandinavia to prescribe time in nature as a medicine. Indeed, there is no better way to de-stress. In Finland nature is never far away. With landscapes that invite adventure as well as tranquility, you can feel the healing power of nature here. During the summer months, the cities emptied. This is when the Finns retreat to nature, preferably on the side of the water. It is a time for them to recharge their batteries in all areas.

In the absence of a holiday in Finland, we can still find many quiet and beautiful places in our own country that give us the necessary rest, where you are invited to consciously slow down and tune in to the rhythm of nature.

3. Wild picking

Finns live in harmony with nature. Wild picking, especially blueberries, is something they are attached to. Hailed as a “superfood”, these berries are made into delicious pastries, marmalades or frozen. This way they can enjoy all kinds of delicious berries all year round.

Wild picking has been making a comeback in our regions for several years now. What used to be something for those who didn’t have it, is now hip and trendy! Even the most renowned chefs venture out into nature to pick edible flowers, herbs, and berries. Here again we find that link with living in and with nature. For Finns wild picking is a natural thing. It is enjoying what nature provides in abundance.

4. The ritual of the Finnish sweat lodge

The most famous Finnish word is undoubtedly  sauna.  This type of sweat lodge is an age-old tradition originating in Finland. After a hard day’s work in the woods or in the field, the sauna was the ideal way to cleanse oneself and brought relief to the heavily stressed joints and muscles. It was also common for women to give birth in the sauna. Contrary to the more erotic connotation that we give to a sauna, for them it is a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation. With more than 3,000,000 saunas, almost every Finn has a sauna at home or has easy access to it. Here you can discover what a real Finnish sauna experience is!

5. An invigorating ice bath

Finnish Sisu: the key to inner strength in difficult times

A sauna naturally includes a moment of cooling off with ice-cold water. For a good flow of blood, there is nothing like a refreshing splash! Mind you, we’re talking about briefly submerging in ice-cold water. Finns also love a dip in the cold water in addition to the sauna. Moreover, it is not uncommon in Helsinki to meet people on their way to a jetty to take a dip in the Baltic Sea. It is a real energy and immunity booster. As soon as you get out of the water, you feel a kick and it gives you, as the Finns say, a blissful feeling.

Embrace the Sisu Spirit

What you generally find in Scandinavia is a sure way to go through life mindfully. This is something we have already discovered with Hygge and Lagom. Besides fun and not too much, not too little, there are other skills that contribute to a happy life. A positive mindset, inviting yourself to get out of your comfort zone and staying calm in the storm, are all aspects that help you to go through life resiliently. Combine this with enjoying delicious and balanced meals, enough exercise and spending time in nature, and you will recover completely in no time!



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