Hytteliv at home

You can combat cabin fever with 15 fun activities


We all know that crime fiction and films are great ways to pass the time when we are stuck indoors and that it’s a Norwegian way to pass the time during Easter vacation. And this year in America, many of us may find ourselves inside more than usual, either with the bad weather that can strike this season or with self-isolation requirements and social distancing recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fortunately, there is more than one way to create a koselig hytteliv—a cozy Norwegian cabin life—right in your own home. Here are some ideas from the staff of The Norwegian American that are sure to help you combat cabin fever:

1. Board games: A great way to socialize with your family while having fun!

2. Card games: Play old games or learn new ones. If you’re alone, challenge yourself with a good game of Solitaire, and time will fly! It’s a fine time to learn a favorite Norwegian card game, appropriately called “Amerikaner” (“American”—as in). It’s a moderately challenging card game, so it might take some time to learn the rules, especially if you’re unfamiliar with trick-taking games (think of Whist, Spades, Hearts, 500, or Euchre). But if you’ve got some extra time on your hands, it can be a blast! Andy Meyer has translated the rules at: www.norwegianamerican.com/amerikaner.

3. Coloring: Great for all ages. We recommend downloading drawings from the internet, especially if they have Norwegian themes! For adults, there are lots of more complex coloring books that can be surprisingly meditative.

4. Journaling: Sometimes it helps to put your thoughts and feelings down on paper during difficult times. Even a simple one-sentence-a-day journal can do a world of good. If you feel like writing, why not take advantage of some extra time you might have? Let the writer in you emerge!

5. Jigsaw puzzles: Pull out an old one, or order a new one just for Easter. Many Norwegian motifs are available. The more pieces the better! For an extra challenge: don’t look at the box!

6. Cooking & baking: This is a delicious activity, sure to please everyone in the family. Check out the Taste of Norway section of our website for some of the best Norwegian recipes to be found.

7. FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom with friends and family far away: Reconnect with folks you’ve not spoken to for a while, or check in with your friends you aren’t able to see in person, and give them all a virtual hug.

8. Home exercise and virtual yoga: Why not devise your own “coronavirus fitness challenge!” Keep track of your progress, and you will feel better, both physically and mentally. Many yoga studios are offering remote classes—take advantage of them!

9. Crossword puzzles: If you speak Norwegian or are learning it, check out this issue’s puzzle. We’ve provided you with a word list, so you can look up the words.

10. Learn your favorite instrument: Now is the time to pick up that guitar or other instrument that has been sitting around for years. Lessons can be found online, and many professional musicians have set up virtual studios. If you already know an instrument, this is a great time to get back to a routine of practicing and learn new music.

11. Live-stream you own music: Share the love by recording your music to share with your friends—it is sure to brighten their day. (You never know: you may become a YouTube sensation!)

12. Watch vintage movies: We all have our favorites, and watching them is sure to make us feel better. After all, who can feel sad after singing along with The Sound of Music?

13. Knitting & crocheting: Many Norwegian Americans are master knitters and crocheters, and this is the perfect time to start a new project or finish an old one. It’s also a good time for a beginner to get started on a simple project. Be careful—you’ll likely get hooked!

14. Woodcarving: Order a book and teach yourself one of the most Norwegian handicrafts of all to create something unique to adorn your home, norsk style!

15. Cleaning & organizing: Yes, believe it or not, this can be fun and fulfilling. Go through an old closet and pack up a bag of things to share with someone who needs them. Clear out the clutter and see results immediately: you will feel great. Wipe off surfaces so they will shiny and sanitary to protect your family from germs, and stay happy and healthy.

This article originally appeared in the April 3, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.