For a while now, hygge has been one of the top wellness trends to come out of Scandinavia. But it’s not for everyone – particularly not in summer, because who really wants to be cosy, warm and snug in July when you could be naked, free and full of vino?
Päntsdrunk is literally just that – a Finnish self-care phenomenon that involves you removing your pants (at home, of course) and drinking. It’s actually called kalsarikänni in Finland – translating roughly to underwear drunk – and was created to help residents deal with the cold, dark winter months Nordics are so accustomed to.
So serious is Finland about päntsdrunk, that the country’s ministry of foreign affairs created two new emojis of people drinking in their underwear (a man in briefs with a beer and a woman in a pink vest-and-pants combo chilling with a glass of red wine) in armchairs to represent Finnish culture. The emojis are also said to be a way of helping foreigners to understand the locals.
Self-care has always been a high priority on Finland’s agenda, and päntsdrunk is just another activitiy they encourage in order to keep the country a happy one. In fact, Finland received the highest total score in the UN’s 2018 World Happiness Report. They already have nationally subsidised health care, great employee benefits and free education – but the encouragement to drink sans pants at the end of a long day? That might be the thing that gets us packing our bags.
Although we no longer need to move to Finland to get a taste of the päntsdrunk lifestyle – Finnish journalist Miska Rantanen is bringing the phenomenon to us with her new book Päntsdrunk (Kalsarikanni): The Finnish Path to Relaxation. According to Penguin, the book’s publisher, the päntsdrunk method also includes “bingeing on Netflix, scrolling mindlessly on your phone, sweet and salty snacks, sofa time, and blocking all work communications", and will lead you to a "healthier, more energising and relaxing life – wherever, whenever". Sounds like the dream…
In recent years, similar trends have promised to boost our wellbeing. Feng shui was the OG of wellness fads, whilst ‘lagom’ (Swedish for ‘just the right amount’) was googled more in 2017 than ever before. This year also saw the rise of kintsugi, which taught us to embrace our flaws, and the interiors-led wabi-sabi, but by far the most popular has been hygge.
So, will päntsdrunk take hygge’s wellbeing crown? Well, it definitely has our vote. For starters, it’s definitely a far more appropriate fad for this time of year. And hygge often feels like a ritual that falls back on aesthetics. With päntsdrunk there’s no pretence, no performance; it’s about being yourself – if being yourself involves no trousers and your favourite tipple in hand (and we know it does).