In this blog I’d like to share with you a Scandinavian word you might or might not have heard of before – Arbejdsglaede. And what does it mean? Happiness at work.

It’s a Scandinavian concept and no other country has a word for this, which I find quite interesting. If you’re reading this as the owner of a business, it’s probably a concept you’re going to be quite interested in. How happy are your staff and your employees? And as an individual, how happy are you in the line of work you’re doing?

A lot of the content I talk about has been around some of the more underappreciated aspects of well-being, like autonomy, variety, purpose, and work life balance. I think for a lot of us, work has really encroached into personal time, and we find it difficult to find that blend rather than balance – the perfect combination of satisfactory time at work, and having the bandwidth of energy and emotion to come and enjoy yourself when you’re at home as well as in your personal life.

Life can feel quite humdrum, can’t it, when you get into that hamster wheel of just work, home, work, home, work, home? Don’t feel trapped in your job or trapped in that humdrum nature of daily life. Seize back some time for yourself and do something that’s all about you. Regaining some autonomy will help you really notice the difference in terms of your wellbeing.

One concept which I think is extremely important for this is the concept of heartfulness. It’s about reconnecting with something you used to love – maybe you used to love knitting or running or theatre, but you just find the convergent pressures of work and home have squeezed out the bandwidth you have to do that.

I urge you to try and reconnect with some of those lost passions and lost hobbies or projects, even if it’s just for five, six, seven minutes a week. And then you can build on that once you’ve really reconnected with how good it makes you feel.

The other side of heartfulness is contribution. It’s doing something for someone else. It’s getting you involved in volunteering, for example. I spend a lot of my time volunteering, and I also fundraise for Alzheimer’s research – it makes me feel great to do something for someone else.

But what is it for you that takes you out of self and that is entirely about someone else or something else, a cause that’s bigger than you? And I think when you start to put your focus on that, then the blend or the balance that we so seek, starts to reappear.

It’s a really simple concept…Heartfulness. By doing something for someone else and getting out of self or reconnecting with stuff you used to love – I think we will find more of that arbejdsglaede, more happiness at work.

So, try and give it a go and see the positive impact it will have on your personal and work life – and what a fantastic way to start the New Year!

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the December 2019 issue of SE22 magazine.