Support Your Wellness With a Good Book: The Year of Living Danishly

Reading is a great way to reduce stress and practice self-care.  We’re committed to promoting teacher wellness, so we’ll be sharing reviews of some of our favourite reads here on our blog!

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
5/5 stars

Helen Russell shares her story of moving to the happiest place on Earth: Denmark.  She expertly weaves research and anecdotes with her narrative about day-to-day life in a new country.   Helen Russell explores different aspects of Danish culture and how these factors might contribute to Danes’ extraordinary happiness.  She shares the challenges of moving to a rural area, learning a foreign language and learning to “live Danishly”. Readers will take away some perspective on how the happiest country functions!

I was fascinated and interested right from the beginning of this book.  I loved the story and laughed out loud more than once while reading her hilarious accounts of mishaps and discoveries in a new place.  The research and interview excerpts she included interested me, but were so nicely woven into her personal story that it didn’t feel like reading research. The book often had me thinking if Danes can do these things to increase happiness, maybe we can too! 

Book Review_ The Year of Living Danishly (1)

There were two ideas that really resonated with me:


(1) The Danish concept of hygge (hoog-uh).   

How can we make our lives cozy and comfortable?  Especially right now, as a global pandemic forces us to distance ourselves from others, I think we need to make our homes a cozy and comforting place to be.  (But this idea also appealed to me a few months ago before I was on lockdown)


(2)  The idea that how we spend our life matters. 

Russell interviewed many locals and, when asking about work-life balance, one woman explained, “We recognize that how you choose to spend your life is important…. If you work too hard, you get stressed, then you get sick and then you can’t work at all” – Ida

The portrayal of Danish life given by Russell suggests that Danes are much better at work-life balance.  Danes enjoy their work, but also dedicate lots of time to hobbies, wellness and family.

If you enjoy non-fiction and inspirational books, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this one.  It’s got both a wonderful story and interesting research!

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About mrsobach

Educator in rural Manitoba, Canada. Co-Founder of KG Education. Passionate about teaching and learning. Committed to inspiring and supporting educators with teaching, technology and teacher wellness.
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