The days are (finally) starting to get longer, but the lack of light combined with winter temperatures don’t help you face everyday life with panache. What if we looked to Sweden for inspiration from a ritual that has proven itself for decades: the gökotta. This tradition of getting up at dawn to enjoy the benefits of nature would allow you to start each day better. Explanations.
We know that getting up late every day is a bad habit that can have harmful effects on mental and physical health. Stress, irritability, increased risk of illness, the list goes on. In Sweden, there is a tradition to start the day right: gökotta. This ritual, which could be translated as “get up early to hear the first birds sing“, consists of getting up at dawn to enjoy nature, bird song and calm. Gökotta is practiced from the first day of Ascension (in May) until mid-summer, but nothing nonetheless draw inspiration from this tradition to adapt it to the most difficult times of the year.
Gökotta: instructions for use
The concept is simple. Ideally, you should get up at dawn, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m…. like the birds. Gökotta is practiced in different ways, depending on individual tastes. A ten-minute walk in a park, a jog on a forest trail, meditation at sunrise or sitting in your garden with a cup of coffee in hand. Everything is good for reconnecting with nature, in peace, to absorb its benefits before a day of work.
But what exactly are the benefits? In an interview with Passion Santé, the sleep specialist at Antwerp hospital, Johan Verbraecken explains: “Being active early in the morning has many benefits as the day progresses. Your blood pressure rises and your fat burning begins. Additionally, your cortisol levels peak in the morning and you have more energy for the rest of the day.“.
Good in his body, good in his head!
The benefits of gökotta
Gökotta has many benefits proven by science. Outdoor sounds, as well as natural light, are known to stimulate well-being and promote good mood. For example, researchers have been able to demonstrate that morning light helps you feel more focused in the morning and sleep better at night. And let’s not forget that natural light is a vector of serotonin, an important hormone in regulating mood. Visiting green spaces, essential in gökotta, would also improve one’s cognitive abilities.
If you are a night owl, you can always adapt gökotta to your daily life. For example, you can treat yourself to meditation time in nature. No birdsong? You can always fall back on nature sounds from apps on your smartphone.
Also, you can practice the Swedish ritual at work by taking advantage of breaks to go for a walk in a nearby park. Today, more and more places are dedicated to the sounds of nature such as quiet parks, which are completely silent parks located in cities, or even tourist areas such as the Alpine resort of Courmayeur in Italy.