You’ve probably heard of Hygge (“hew-guh”), the Danish concept of being present and feeling cozy and special in a given moment. It’s more of a feeling than anything else, but it involves redirecting your attention to the simple joy that comes with just being with your family, friends and other loved ones.
Enter Fredagsmys. Fredagsmys (“fray-dawgs-mees”) is a Swedish concept that is similar to the Danish hygge. It means “Cozy Friday,” and its name is a mashup between the Swedish words for Friday (Fredag) and cozy (mysigt). Long-story short, Fredagsmys is a comfortable Friday night in with family and friends. You enjoy easy-to-make snacks or appetizers (takeout is also acceptable, if not encouraged), tasty beverages (wine, beer, you name it) and a movie. Comfortable clothes, PJs and onesies are the suggested attire.
It formally began in the 1990s as part of an advertising campaign for Swedish snack producer OLW but has since made itself a common practice in Swedish culture.
But why devote a Friday night to staying in and relaxing instead of going out?
A common answer in Sweden is found in its culture: Swedes and their Nordic neighbors prioritize work-life balance (we’ll be talking about lagom soon). After a productive and occasionally long week, taking time to veg out with good company, food and drink seems to be a worthy celebration without the physical or financial pressure of going out. For those who have had a more stressful week, it's a simple way to just recharge.
For those of us in America, here are three reasons why we should practice Fredagsmys more often:
1. Work-related stress in America is high.
In 2017, a study from the American Institute for Stress found that 40% of American workers said their jobs were either very or extremely stressful. Seventy five percent of those surveyed believe that workers today have more work-related stress than a generation ago.
2. The effects of work-related stress aren’t pretty.
You're likely already familiar with this one. The American Psychological Association (APA) lists anxiety, insomnia, and weaker immune systems as just a few of the impacts from work-related stress, not to mention the subsequent conditions they can lead to.
3. Setting aside time to relax can help you lower your work-related stress.
In addition to tracking your stressors and having honest conversations with your manager about stress, the APA also suggests setting clear boundaries between your work and personal life, taking time to recharge, and learning to relax as methods of lowering your work-related stress.
What’s a better and easier way to start than by making a regular tradition of enjoying food, drink and entertainment with those you love?
Let’s make 2019 the best year for ourselves yet. How about we begin by taking some advice from our Nordic friends?