Discover more from SCANDI CLASS by Annabella Daily
How to Vacation Like a Finn
You can do this August like the Happiest People on Earth.
After spending June and half of July—Finland’s biggest vacation month—in The Happiest Country in the World, I can report that even I was shocked how the Finns do it. And I’m a native Finn. I haven’t spent summers there in over a decade, so it all felt new, but familiar. And it all just made so much sense.
Inspired to do things—no matter where I am in the summer—more like the Finns, I want to share the Finnish playbook to summer vacation.
Thanks for reading SCANDI CLASS! Subscribe for free to receive new posts, get new game-changing tips and support my work.
Why should we follow Finns’ example on how to vacation, you might wonder.
Because Finns take vacation more seriously than perhaps anyone else on the planet. Not only do Finns get and take more vacation time than basically anyone else, vacation time there is protected and valued to the point that it’s quasi-religious.
Did you know that if you work for a company, and get sick or injured during your vacation, the time you are sick or injured is added to your paid vacation days (so you get extra vacation time), because the belief is that everyone needs to fully enjoy their vacation and that you can’t fully enjoy your vacation if you are sick or injured.
The company pays for a few of those days, and the government kicks in the rest. Finland wants its people happy and recharged.
This newsletter is brought to you by… my own little Scandi-style brand! Besides writing about Scandi solutions, I wanted to do more to make parenting easier in the US. I can’t change the big things, but I can change little things—that are game-changing!
I was done with the battles to clean my boys’ faces from sweat, sunscreen & dirt at the end of the day & soothe irritations, so I created Rush Brush: all-natural paint-on face cleanser & moisturizing balm that’s ACTUALLY fun to apply—independently!
I just launched it on ETSY & it’s magic! If you have kids 1-12, it’s a life changing. You can make parenting easier & support my launch by using code SUBSTACK25 to get 25% off Rush Brush here!
How to Vacation like a Finn
“Get on the Vacation Mode”. That means turn off everything work-related for as long as is possible. Even most entrepreneurs and freelancers in Finland prefer to protect their vacation time over additional profits.
Many stores put up “on vacation” signs on their doors for the month of July (case in point, I went to 5 flower stores with a sign “back in August” until I found one that was open).
“Find the Joy of Missing Out”. Many Finns head to a wilderness cottage in the nature, ideally by a lake or sea—for some or all of their vacation. Nature provides the opportunity to be just active enough, but not to the point where you are exhausted by your vacation. Finns know this even without reading the studies: being in nature is an antidote to stress.
If you found one of these insights helpful, tap the LIKE button at the end!
“Schedule Do Nothing Days”. This means you have nothing planned or scheduled—so you can do what you want, when you want to do it. Finns hate schedules in the summer; many don’t even plan summer camps or playdates for kids because then you have to stick to a schedule and you “can’t be free”. I learned that my boys and I got the best results from last minute reach-out: “is anyone free to meet at the park now?” My brother emphasized this time without plans it’s critical for a full recovery from work and life’s stresses.
“Get bored”. Especially for kids, Finns believe that it’s not a vacation, if kids don’t get bored. They don’t try to avoid boredom, they steer their kids towards it. Out of the entire summer, Finnish kids might do just 1-2 weeks of camp.
This is wild, because, like one American parent asked me on Instagram: “don’t they constantly drive their parents crazy? I admit I wondered the same.
The answer is yes and no.
The more independence and freedom the kids have (and Finnish kids have a lot), the less they drive you crazy. The more parents can handle the initial whining & sibling fighting that bored kids do instead of focusing on how to stop it with non-stop activities, the quicker the kids get over it and start using their own imagination and creativity.
The more kids learn to rely on themselves for joy and entertainment, the less they need others to show them how to play and how to be happy.
These kids then grow up to be Finnish adults, who prize their self-created, self-entertained vacations over almost everything else, and come fall, return back to school and back to work recharged, refreshed—and, at least in many cases, the happiest in the world.
What will you take out of the Finn’s vacation playbook this August?! I just told my husband we will definitely plan “no-plans” days, what about you?
PS. If you are on Insta, you can join my on Scandi style adventures & quick tips here.