Power Of The Sisu: Embracing The Art Of Inner Strength In The Finnish Lakeland

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Ideal for a thrilling and invigorating adventure…

Finland has been crowned the World’s Happiest Country for the seventh year in a row, which holds a valuable lesson for the rest of the world. The secret, apparently, lies in embracing your inner ‘sisu’, the 500-year-old national concept that embodies qualities like stoic determination, hardiness, bravery, tenacity, and resilience. The term is deeply embedded in Finnish culture and is considered by many as a key psychological construct that encapsulates the Finnish spirit.

The concept of sisu has been a part of Finnish culture for centuries, but it gained international attention through modern-day, modish books, discussions and blokes doing podcasts on the topic of resilience and personal fortitude. It’s sometimes used in motivational contexts, encouraging individuals to tap into deep reserves of personal power and perseverance.

So, how to you embrace your inner sisu? Go to Finland of course. Visit Finland tell us that the Finnish Lakeland is the ideal destination to cultivate this resilient mindset, with its ice-cold lakes, numerous saunas, and activities that allow its visitors to tap into their inner sisu.

Dare To Take The Plunge Into Wild Ice Swimming

Ideal for invigorating the body and boosting mental wellbeing…

Come on in, the water’s fine! The chilly temperatures in Finland don’t deter the locals from embracing the outdoors, including the popular practice of ice swimming. Wild ice swimming can invigorate the body, boost mental well-being, and enhance circulation through the shock of cold water immersion in natural settings. It’s a very Finnish activity that’s believed to contribute to national happiness. 

Finland’s largest lake, Lake Saimaa, is the ultimate destination for travellers who want to tap into their inner sisu and unlock that internal strength. Jumping into the fresh Finnish waters, with temperatures ranging from 18 to -0.5 degrees, a plunge into the vast lakes in the region is proven to boost feel-good hormones, enhance blood circulation, boost the immune system, and increase calories burned. Even just splashing your face with cold water will stimulate the vagus nerve, which results in an anti-inflammatory response. Immersing yourself in icy water takes things to another level, and is a wonderful way to feel alive, exhilarated and fill up on endorphins.

HOW: Book a chilly ice floating session in the Oravi Channel in Finnish Lakeland; prices start from €39 per person for a 1-hour session. 

Recharge & Relax With Finnish Sauna Culture

Ideal for a steamy, spiritual and stress-busting experience…

Finland, a nation of 5.5 million people, is estimated to have over three million saunas, making it the ultimate destination for experiencing the smoke and steam of the beloved activity. The tradition is so valued here that it’s on the UNESCO list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. 

“Sauna culture in Finland is an integral part of the lives of the majority of the Finnish population,” says Unesco. “Sauna culture, which can take place in homes or public places, involves much more than simply washing oneself. In a sauna, people cleanse their bodies and minds and embrace a sense of inner peace.”

At the heart of the sauna is the word löyly (pronounced low-lu) which translates to steam or heat. It refers to the steam that rises from the hot stones when water is thrown on them in a sauna. It’s an essential part of the sauna experience and each sauna has a different löyly which can vary according to the time of day as the heat drops and rises. When sauna-goers manage to hit the 15-minute mark when the löyly is high, well that’s when the true challenge comes, and those inside need to embrace the sisu. 

So, where can you experience the best Finnish sauna culture? Head to the scenic landscape of Inkoo (Ingå), where Finnish nature meets serene luxury, is The Forest Spa at The Hilltop Forest Resort. A gem set 60 km outside of Helsinki in Lakeland, where guests are invited to the elevated forest retreat complete with an exclusive spa experience. Thoughtful details, including a pre-lit wood-burning sauna, pre-ordered drinks, a pre-heated outdoor hot tub, and plush pre-fluffed towels, ensure a seamless and indulgent stay. Guests will immerse themselves in Nordic luxury, surrounded by the calming ambience of the forest, for a truly serene and private spa escape.

HOW: To book a private 90-minute spa reservation during a stay at Hilltop Forest, prices start at €159 for two guests, €30 / additional guest. Private spa slots are also available for non-guests.

Race Through The Arctic On A Snowmobiling Adventure

Photo by Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash

Hitting speeds of over 100mph, snowmobiling is one of the most exhilarating activities in the Arctic. Those brave enough or those pushing themselves to embrace the sisu can hop on a snowmobile and race through the Finnish Lakeland. The beautifully expansive frozen lakes and snowy forests are made for the activity, offering those brave enough a chance to explore deep into the wilderness and push out of their comfort zones. Those wanting the extra challenge can even snowmobile during an evening tour, getting the chance to view the northern lights over the lakes. 

HOW: Get exhilarated with Safari Suomi’s snowmobile tour through Finnish Lakeland, with prices starting at €95 per person. 

Dig Deep On A Snow Shoeing Trek Through Finnish Lakeland

Travellers wanting to test their sisu could also put their strength to the test through a long snowshoe hike through Finnish Lakeland. Snowshoeing is one of the most popular winter activities across Finland and a great way to test your mental strength through the beautiful national landscape of Finland. This activity is a great way to explore the forests in thick snow and enjoy the solitude of the wilderness.

HOW: Book a snowshoeing tour with Koli Nature Centre, Ukko, with prices starting at €38 per person for a 1.5-hour tour. 

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