What can we do for some light relief from the working-at-home routine?
Listen to the birds.
That’s right. ‘Gökotta’. It’s the latest Scandinavian health trend – and it’s perfect for current times.
Gökotta is a word with no English equivalent, but it roughly translates to mean “getting up early to listen to birdsong”. The Swedes used to get up at around three in the morning on ‘Holy Thursday’ to meet with friends in a forest and wait for the cuckoos to start calling at sunrise.
This might sound a bit strange to Australians, but the practice is said to have many health benefits. Rising early, spending time outdoors and getting some physical activity are all known wellbeing boosters. Plus, you can tailor a healthy morning ritual to almost any situation – no cuckoos needed.
Have you ever noticed how ‘early birds’ tend to be happy people? There’s some science to it – and it involves their circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake patterns. But let’s not get bogged down in the technical stuff. If it feels good, just do it.
And right now, we need those ‘feels’ to brighten our day. It might be hard to track down a cuckoo, but there are many gorgeous Australian birds to be heard. The morning warble of a magpie is heart-warming. And the lilting coo of a pigeon is comforting too.
So how about a morning hit of endorphins? It can be in the COVID-19-compliant safety of your own backyard. Get the kids out of bed and get yourselves some gökotta.
Here’s a cool reference to identify the birdsong in your area. Start your day in a happy way by getting up with the birds. It beats listening to the gloom and doom on the news.