Interview with Helen Russell
What makes the life in rural Jutland, Denmark, so attractive for you?
For me, living Danishly is about a different pace of life and a realigning of priorities. I spend less money on new shiny things and more time with my family and friends. I run, walk, bicycle (occasionally), indulge in ‘kaffe og kage’ (often), work a 40 hour week (max), and am a little kinder to myself out here than I ever felt I could be back home. Rural Jutland is the antithesis of media London – and it was a change I needed for a while.
What is the most curious insight into the Danish culture you have gained?
There are a few! I was fascinated to discover that a snake autopsy passes for a fun day out in Jutland (ditto crab racing and dancing cows). Being well-lit is also akin to a basic human right in Denmark; paying an extraordinary amount of tax isn’t necessarily a bad thing; and pastry and potatoes might just be the secret formula for happiness…
Can you provide three basic tips on how to be happier?
- Trust (more) – this is the number one reason I’ve found that Danes are so happy. It makes you feel better and you save yourself unnecessary stress. Plus trusting the people around you can make them behave better – so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Get hygge – for me, this is about more than just the cliched idea of ‘cosiness’: it’s about being kind to yourself, remembering the simple pleasures in life – and being grateful for them.
- Share – life’s easier this way and studies show you’ll feel better too.
What characterizes 21st century journalism for you?
Today, journalism is about being open to diversifying – both in terms of content and medium. It’s crucial to take up offers of training and show willing by gaining as much experience as you can and developing your social media offering. Journalists can no longer luxuriate in long lunches and the prospect of a job for life – or even a decade. It’s important to be tenacious, courteous and brave. It’s great to have a specialism and become an expert in something – but be nice to everyone along the way as you never know when you’ll need them!
Why should clients use you for their next event?
A well-presented, experienced and entertaining speaker, Helen can add a touch of humour to any event covering insightful, thought-provoking topics in a light-hearted, accessible way. She can tailor talks for clients and will always research her audience to make sure her lecture is spot on.