The holiday rush is through, everyone is recovering from the exhaustion of the season, the weather is grey and cold and there is nothing much to look forward to this month. That sounds like the perfect storm to create a very long and depressing January. How can we help ourselves to feel relaxed and improve our well being during these not so pleasant winter months? The solution is Hygge!
What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), a Danish word, is defined one way as:
“an art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word or simple definition to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.
Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness and the undefinable feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.” (http://hyggehouse.com/hygge)
So what exactly does Hygge look like in real life? Well, there are a few key essentials that will help to get you in the right state of mind and the spirit of the art of creating intimacy. Some of these items include lit candles around the home to set a calming atmosphere, books to escape from reality in small doses, outdoor elements brought indoors (flowers, pine branches, pine cones in a decorative bowl, etc), hot tea/ hot coffee/ hot chocolate to sip on an soothe the soul, cozy blankets to curl up with, roaring fire if possible, or improvise with the sounds of a crackling fire with a sound app, warm socks, and an oversized sweater make up the Hygge uniform. Once you slip into the attire, light a few candles, grab a warm beverage and get find a comfortable spot in your home. Here are some tips on how to Hygge.
How to Hygee at Home
– Put your phone down. I know that it is a challenge and sometimes not possible, but find the moments when you can put it down and leave it alone. Slowly take in the aesthetics and indulgences all around you.
– Music is a must have! Turn on something soothing. Soundscapes, classical music, smooth jazz- whatever is calming and that can be played in the background.
– Dim the lights. Turn off the overhead lights in the daytime and enjoy the natural light coming in from the windows. In the evening, use lamps and candles to light a room.
– Texture is key! Think cozy and load up on it. You can never have enough throw blankets or fluffy pillows! Wear fuzzy slippers, add a scarf to your outfit, or pick a cozy chair or spot in the house and claim it as the Hygge nook.
– Indulge! This is a big bonus for those who practice Hygge. Comfort food and drink is a big factor. So alongside your warm beverage, enjoy a small piece of decadent chocolate. And enjoy it slowly by letting it melt in your mouth. Slow and steady are the main ingredients to indulgence. Stay in your pajamas as long as you want. Bake cookies. Eat rich cheeses and crackers. Make a full meal with breads, pasta, meats and gravy and hearty vegetables. Take a hot bath. Catch a nap when you can. Sip wine with dinner.
– Bring the outside in. Fresh flowers brighten any room. Add a little visual stimulation with some outdoor elements strewn about like pine branches, even extra logs for the fire. Anything that can be brought it to remind you of nature is a peaceful reminder of relaxation.
– Reading is a great way to take a temporary break from reality. So get yourself cozy in the Hygge spot and grab an old favorite or something new to dive into. Even if it is for 20 minutes a day, make some time to decompress.
Although realistically not everyday can be Hygge centered, try to do one or two of these things once a week. Once you start to get in the habit of it, increase the moments as you can. After a while you will find ease in navigating your way through the winter months. You may even look forward to dreary days just to be able to practice some Hygge. Take care of yourselves ladies, because you deserve it and you are worth it!