Where I come from in Canada, -8 degrees Fahrenheit is a normal winter day. I’ve grown up scraping windshields, falling on sidewalks, and being too cool for idiot strings (only to get frostbite). But never once have I dealt with wintertime depression.
That’s why I’ve always thought of Norwegians as kindred spirits. The sun doesn’t rise for months in northern parts, yet the rate of winter depression is incredibly low. It all made sense after hearing about “koselig.” Pronounced “koos-uh-lee,” the literal translation is “cozy,” but it’s really an all-encompassing philosophy that many Norwegians live by to help get them through the winter.
“Koselig” can describe a hug (“Kan jeg gi deg en kos?” or “Can I give you a "hug”?), a warm greeting (“Koselig å se deg igjen!” or “It was nice to see you again!”), and even sex ("Vi har nettopp kosa oss” or “We just had a cozy time”... wink wink). But the word is most commonly used during the winter, to talk about anything and everything that evokes warm and fuzzy feelings.
So I tracked down a few Norwegians and a psychological researcher to find out the secret to staying koselig and fending off wintertime blues.