Wellness does not cost much and what can be a better place to explore vitality than in Stockholm? In summer, Stockholm lives and breathes health. That's when the indoor gyms come to stillness giving the great outdoors the full advantage.
It is such a privilege to be living in a big city and be able to escape the city noise and buzz within 20 minutes of commute. Inner and outer Stockholm surrounded by water, forests & parks. All come alive in summer with sounds and colours escalating to their maximum.
Maybe you are visiting Stockholm, or like me- an expat that is still discovering the city, or maybe you think you know Stockholm so well, that you take the city for granted, neglecting its novelties.
Whilst all native Stockholmers were out in Stockholm's archipelago celebrating midsummer (a Scandinavian tradition celebrating summer solstice), I have been befriending this beautiful city. Stockholm's archipelago accommodates a cluster of some 30000 islands, skerries and rocks, hosting thousands of visitors in summer months.
Wellness is not only about being active and exercising but involves the whole spectrum of activities that fulfil own's life. Feeling "well" means feeling good all round and usually obtained through a synergy of physical and emotional balance. Having a good workout, a wholesome meal, a good chat with a friend, a memorable art exhibition or a walk in a park - all of the above and much more are attributes to a healthy being.
For me, the foundation for wellness starts with curiosity, openness and a dare to explore. Stockholm might not be as sleepless as other European capitals, but has plentiful things to keep one entertained.
I have started my weekend with a gentle walk early in the morning in the Nackareservatet (National Forest), only 20 minutes away from central Stockholm. Being so close yet so far from the city almost feel surreal. Breathing the fresh air, listening to the whispers of pine trees and orchestrated chirping of birds have an enormous impact on our psychic. Thoughts wander in an out of head but, after a while, everything comes to stillness. It is just mine tet-a-tet with nature. It is therapeutic.
There is this new trend in mental wellness - its called Ecotherapy.
Ecotherapy means ‘restoring wellbeing through contact with nature'. It is probably the most accessible and affordable way to stay healthy.
I then make my way to Hellasgården, a hub for wellness activities and a short bus drive from the city.
Hellasgården never disappoints, with the exception of having too much choice. You can rent a kayak, canoe or mountain bike for a very reasonable price. There is hiking, rock climbing, or just swimming in the lake. In addition, you can also go to the sauna ("bastu" in swedish) or a yoga class, held a couple of times a week. Or perhaps, try an outdoor gym ( "utegym" in swedish). There are plentiful outdoor gyms all around Stockholm, promoting the culture of accessible wellness for all.
I return home feeling exhausted but satisfied. I pick yummy wild strawberries ("smultron" in swedish) from my garden, watch an episode of Quicksand - an excellent new(ish) Swedish Noir TV show and I am off to bed.
Tomorrow I will be "breathing in" the city…
I start my day with an upbeat mix from Swedish Electronic Music Label "Studio Barnhus". This label always makes me happy. The kind of dance music that injects plentifull of positive energy for the day ahead. This label consists of a trio - Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs and Petter Nordkvist- the darlings not only in the Swedish club scene but globally.
Who said music is not a part of a "wellbeing package"?
Checked into Hobo hotel. Hip, funky hotel right in the heart of Stockholm that doesn't cost a fortune. We get a very sweet deal- Superior Double Room with breakfast for 771kr (for two). Hobo also has 24/7 Gym and neighbours with one of the coolest rooftop bars Tak (which literally means "roof" in swedish). As claimed by the hotel itself, Hobo is more than "just a hotel", but has a thriving community vibe.
Further on, we renting electric scooters. You find these everywhere in central Stockholm. A perfect and fun way to explore the city without having a "walking hangover" days after.
The next stop is a yoga class visit to Downtown Camper Hotel- located opposite Hobo. This hotel promotes all things active, but at a higher price range. Only steps away from Stockholm Central Station.
Downtown Camper or a DP is a funky, camping-themed, inspirational lifestyle hotel with a vintage vibe and a long list of a daily activities schedule. You can rent a kayak, skateboard, socialising by the hotel's campfire whilst having a delicious meal or drink. We have attended a yoga class held by YesYoga- probably the most innovative and fun yoga I have been to, there is yoga dance, live DJ-set, laughter and sweat. Its free and classes are happening every Saturday during the summer.
Eating out in Stockholm can be very costly, but there are some great cheaper alternatives.
Karma App- is a Swedish startup founded in Stockholm, November 2016. The app connects surplus food from restaurants, cafes and grocery stores to consumers for a lower price. It rescues food and your budget. Truly genius idea with a win-win formula for sustainability, food waste and one's pocket.
Karma has reached 150 Swedish cities, working with 2000 retailers, and attracting 500,000 app users. In February 2018, Karma launched in London and one year later, set up a third market in Paris. To date, 295 tonnes of food has been rescued with the app!
Moderation or "Lagom"
Wellbeing cannot exist without moderation and simplicity. If you go "overboard" with something, the other aspect of your life will struggle, disrupting the balance. At the core of the Swedish psychology rooted quintessentially swedish "lagom". Lagom (pronounced [lɑːɡɔm]) is a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount".Lagom is also widely translated as "in moderation", "in balance", "perfect-simple", and "suitable" (in matter of amounts).
There is a virtue in moderation and keeping that equilibrium is something that Swedes are so good at following.
I finish my day with a nice bath and Björk&Berries Bath Salts. Björk&Berries is a Swedish Eco-Luxury Brand inspired by the Swedish nature and seasons. Products evoke the nature of Sweden with all its beauty and peculiarity. They have a line named "White Forest", "Dark Rain", "Never Spring", "Birch Rituals" to name some. Highly addictive!