What we can learn from the happiest places in the world
With many countries still in lockdown, it is vital to work on our emotional wellbeing during this difficult time.
WHO released their 2019 World Happiness Report in March. Finland came out tops for the third year running, with Denmark and Switzerland making the top 3. Iceland, Norway, The Netherlands and New Zealand also all made it into the top 10.
Here are some lessons we can learn from these happy nations while in lockdown:
Finland is one of the most educated and literate nations in the world, and they have a huge love of public libraries. Most of the other countries in the top slots share that high rate of education.
While we know Netflix has its appeal, there’s no better time to read than now when you’re home for continuous amounts of time. Ebooks are the name of the game, and if you’ve never considered yourself a reader, perhaps you just haven’t found the right books?
Whether it’s gripping novels or inspiring non-fiction, reading a book can take you around the world without you having to leave your home. Reading also calms you down and enrich your perspective.
Get into some green
Around 70 percent of Finland is covered by forest. Denmark is home to the world’s most bike-friendly city. New Zealand boasts some of the most pristine landscapes on the planet. Many of the places in this happy list share a respect for nature and a culture that celebrates it.
While we don’t all have pristine forests on our doorsteps, we are now allowed outside our homes with South Africa's level 3 regulations. It is important to use this time wisely and soak up some vitamin D while practising health and safety measures.
If you can’t get close to a patch of grass, then simply sit on your balcony and stare at the sky for a while, noticing the birds, city sounds, or the feel of the wind on your skin.
Another common attribute these happy countries share is the value of a strong social system, where people feel supported and have a sense of belonging. This can be difficult to cultivate in a time when people are isolated at home, so you need to reach out and reignite relationships, whether this is with colleagues, friends or family.
Set up weekly catch-ups where you talk openly about your emotions, challenges and successes. If you’re struggling emotionally and need some expert advice, it’s worth contacting your medical aid for help.
You may feel that all you do at home now is rest but if you look a little closer, you’ll see that’s not quite the truth. In between trying to home school your kids, get some work done, clean the house and feed everyone three meals a day, your body and mind are also trying to deal with the stressors of a global pandemic.
Take time to rest, if you can. Have a nap. Lie still and listen to some music. A work-life balance is another common thread which most of these happy countries share, so right now you need to channel this theme and learn to rest yourself.