The Swiss concept of "lüfta"

Photo by  Daniel Hansen  on  Unsplash

Sixteen years ago when I first heard the Swiss concept “lüfta”, which translates to “to air out,”  I wasn’t that impressed. Why one would deliberately open all the windows every morning and hang out the duvets through the windows was such a foreign concept.  I’d never seen anyone do that before.

The Swiss don’t “lüfta” too long - for 30 minutes at the most— and then the windows are closed again for the day and the duvets placed back on the bed. That a home needed to be aired out, even on a cold day, was a little strange to me. But part of what I didn’t understand, is how efficient the insulation is in a Swiss home.  If the windows aren’t opened, fresh air cannot circulate.

Fast forward 16 years and I am now an avid fan of “lüfta”. I open the windows in our home every morning and I hang (if my husband doesn’t beat me to it) our duvets out of our bedroom window just for 30 minutes or so. In the Summer season I create a “durchzug” (air flow) to welcome in the cool fresh morning air which help cool down the apartment.  And as soon as I see the sun peeking over the mountain, all windows and blinds are closed up. I like to call it Swiss air conditioning:  the cool air stays in all day and if the windows are closed and the blinds stay down, walking into our apartment is beautiful and cool for the remainder of the day.

Call me a “lüfta” convert.

But what if we take that concept one step further?  Maybe it’s not only our apartments that need to be aired out.  Could our minds and spirits also benefit from an “airing out?” 

Life can be stressful and if we don’t stop once and awhile and look after ourselves, the stress can build up over time and overflow. We rush from commitment to commitment and are constantly bombarded with outside stimulation. For introverts this can affect us to the extreme, because processing outside stimuli can be even more exhausting for us.  As a mum I am a epic multi-tasker. I listen to podcasts as I cook, clean, and work out.  I read emails while drinking a coffee. I listen to music in the background all day long.  Constant stimulation.  

Not to mention the actual burden of those much loved and needed Smart Phones. 

So how can I air out my life with all I have going on?

I always tell my kids, “stop looking for the problem, look for the solution.”

Taking a page out of the Swiss book, we can move beyond just airing out our homes. We can take a short time each day to air out our own minds, too. Do yoga.  Take a walk with no podcasts or music.  Learn to meditate. Enjoy a cup of coffee while looking at the view.  Or just turn off all the sound around you and sit still. 

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Along those lines a friend of mine once mentioned that before she picks up her kids from school each afternoon, she plans just 30 minutes prior to that to come home from whatever she is doing.  She makes a cup of tea and just enjoys the peace and quiet before beginning her afternoon. If she doesn’t do this she feels her afternoons are a lot more stressed. 

I love that idea. 

In a past episode of the “My Open Kitchen” podcast, the concept (and hashtag) #onequietcup was introduced:   sitting down and actually enjoying that one cup of tea of coffee (or your beverage of choice). But whatever you do, don’t get lost in the hashtag. If you want to take that picture, go for it, but then put that phone away and sit for 5 minutes and enjoy the stillness. 

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

I’m onboard with that! Experiment and see what works for you. 

I’ve realized that the ritual of opening the windows in my home is a little like meditation for me. I used to avoid it, but now I embrace the few moments out of my day to just open the windows and feel the crisp air. I can then close them again and get on with the hustle and bustle of running a family.  

Some fresh air for our home as well as for my mind.