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May 28, 2023


You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image. Last year, Denmark ranked as number two in “the world’s happiest nation” poll. Hygge undoubtedly

You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.

Last year, Denmark ranked as number two in “the world’s happiest nation” poll. Hygge undoubtedly has something to do with this. It’s a concept that means surrounding yourself with things that make you content and enjoying life’s simpler pleasures for the benefit of your mental health.

Hard-to-pronounce hygge

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Danes, hygge is pronounced “hooga”. It dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. Similar words can be traced back to medieval times in both Denmark and Norway. Hygge is the quality of being warm and comfortable that gives a feeling of happiness.

Hygge is commonly associated with winter. It’s about log fires with a pot of soup heating up on the hearth. It’s cosiness and warmth; seasonal food and drink such as hot chocolate, and curling up under a wool blanket with a good book.

Conviviality is part of hygge, encouraging the feeling of contentment from sharing food and laughter with good friends and family.

Hygge engenders feelings of wellbeing. A hygge home should be your sanctuary, a place to escape the stresses of life. The décor is cosy and very personal to you. Natural textiles such as wool or sheepskin are found in throws, blankets and rugs. A neutral colour palette can encourage a calming atmosphere.

Candles are used prolifically in Danish homes but there does, of course, need to be an awareness of the fire risk. Fairy lights are not just for Christmas and are a safer option to create a cheerful mood.

Natural materials such as wood or bamboo are found in the home as well as many indoor plants. If you can have one, a real log fire is pure hygge.

However you embrace hygge, whether with chunky woollen socks or taking a hot bubble bath, there’s no doubt it can be a wonderful way to practice self-care in the winter.

From Denmark to Finland

The Finnish proverb Rakenna ensin sauna ja sitten talo translates as Build the sauna first and then the house. The majority of Finns sweat in a sauna at least once a week, with dry heat rather than the wet saunas which use moisture and steam.

Saunas are typically made of wood and can be used inside or outside the home. The traditional Finnish sauna is heated by wood or stones. Many steam rooms, or wet saunas, use moist heat and humidity that can help to moisturise the skin.

An Infra-red sauna is popular for at-home use and has panels that heat your body directly at a lower temperature than a “hot stone” sauna. The benefits you may experience include the relief of muscle and joint pain, weight loss, detoxification, improved sleep and it can help you relax and de-stress. Many wellness centres and spas offer clients’ sauna therapies.

High-tech saunas can feature variations in lighting, speaker systems, and Bluetooth function.

If visiting icy Finland, named yet again by the United Nations World Happiness Report as the happiest country in the world, you may be invited to not only nakedly use a sauna, but roll in the snow afterwards and gently beat yourself with a vihta (tied birch branches that have been soaked in water). Alternatively, stay home and purchase your own sauna or visit a wellness centre and start understanding why the Finns swear by them.

Upcoming events in Ōtepoti Dunedin

The Dunedin Marathon has been run annually since 1979, apart from the Covid-19 interruptions. It returned last year with new courses and a new sponsor, Emerson’s. Regular physical activity can be beneficial at any age and improve both our physical and mental health.

There will be full, half, 10k and 5k courses suitable for all runners and walkers, finishing at the Emerson’s site. This year’s event is on Sunday September 10th and entries close at midnight on September 5th. www.dunedinmarathon.co.nz

Seafood is good for heart health. It’s low in saturated fats and full of important nutrients such as B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Good news then for both Dunedin residents and visitors that The Port Chalmers Seafood Festival is back. Held on September 30th , there will be fresh seafood stalls, live cooking demonstrations, live music and entertainment for the children. www.seafoodfest.co.nz

Coming up…

Next week, Health and Beauty will feature workplace wellness

Word of Mouth

Clinton Chambers Managing Director Taste Nature Ltd

At Taste Nature we prefer to describe holistic health as integrative health, where we take holistic health to the next level. We offer a complete vertical and horizontal health service, from top level medical through to our baseline which is wholefoods and herbal medicines - all under one roof.

We have in-store naturopaths, working in our herbal dispensary, on hand to deliver support around diet, meal planning, and herbal medicines. As the dispensary and clinic are part of the supermarket, our naturopaths and practitioners are in a unique position to walk our clients through the store showing them our complete range of wholefoods and products that support health and wellbeing. Thus, we are the only health store and clinic in New Zealand where we can implement change at the supermarket trolley level. Our motto is “integrative health is a preventative health system”. We promote wellbeing through how we live and what we eat.

We support health and wellbeing through the lens that our biology, mind and emotions are interconnected; if one is out of balance then everything is. Integrative health is an individualised, client-centered model of promoting optimal health and wellness, combining a whole-person approach with evidence-based strategies to reduce disease risk by turning around lifestyle behaviours. According to the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, “…the field of integrative health and medicine reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and professions, to achieve optimal health and healing.”

Our clinic is one of New Zealand’s leading specialists in Organics and Functional Medicine Care. We hold the health and wellness of people and planet as a fundamental priority and strive to deliver to our clients a complete wellness ecosystem from the soil up. We offer professional health support and services, including education through workshops and hold one of the largest organic wholefoods and ethical plant-based health product ranges in New Zealand.

Our philosophy is founded on the principle that the food we eat provides the building blocks for our wellbeing and through education we can empower behavioural change.

Our ethos is prevention; we assist in preventing illness and disease intervention, and support change at any level - health and wellbeing is a journey. We are there all the way.

How do you manage your own wellness with a demanding job? Do you think you maintain a good work/life balance?

I would never be able to maintain running multiple businesses with over 30 staff, and effectively manage a high level of workload and stress if I didn’t follow a strict health plan based on an organic diet, natural health products and practitioner support.

While I am immersed in health all day at work, I am able to balance calmness and relaxation at home. I have a lifestyle property in Waitati with extensive landscaped gardens, an organic vegetable garden, native bush and views over Orokonui Ecosanctuary. We are surrounded by nature and wildlife. This provides the ultimate mix of work-life balance; nature seems to strip away the stress and demands of a work day.

What I love about Dunedin is we can have a city life and within a short drive find ourselves in open countryside, fresh air and nature.

How would you describe your diet?

Organic food is an essential staple in my diet. I don’t follow any particular diet programme and I am fortunate enough to not have any major allergies or intolerants, therefore I love all foods. I am a real foodie! I start my day with fasting which will last me through until the afternoon. At that point I will eat either a range of fruit or a fresh salad, something light and nutritious. I like to ensure I’m covering a good range of food groups. When it comes to dinner, as we have a large vegetable garden, organic hens and our own lambs at home, we are always eating from our garden and paddock and always what is in season.

Hearth-warming hyggeHard-to-pronounce hyggeThe hygge homeFrom Denmark to FinlandTypes of saunaUpcoming events in Ōtepoti DunedinComing up…Word of MouthClinton Chambers Managing Director Taste Nature LtdWhat is ‘holistic health’?How do you manage your own wellness with a demanding job? Do you think you maintain a good work/life balance?How would you describe your diet?