It’s a new year, new beginnings, and a good excuse to create some positive habits in your life. After a stressful year and holiday season, I for one, have resolved to slow down, unplug, and enjoy my surroundings, friends and family. I’m taking a tip from the Danes.
Did you know that the Danish people are the happiest people on the planet? Why you ask? There are a lot of political and social reasons that I won’t go into here, but one of the main components…Hygge. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t until a few months ago. I know I’m a little slow catching on to some trends, but as I started researching the term I found a plethora of posts and articles written back as far as 2015. I’m amazed I hadn’t heard of it sooner. Anyway, now that I’m aware, I’ve resolved to build a few of its tenets into my life this year.
Hygge (pronounced HOO -ga)…what is it? It’s hard tp translate into a single English word, but here’s a few definitions that I found.
- The Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures
- The Danish word that refers to a mental state cosiness, conviviality and togetherness in the heart of winter
- When one is enjoying the good things in life
- A deep sense of place, warmth and friendship
- The art of creating intimacy
Therefore, with much of the country in the deep throws of arctic chill, facing short daylight hours and long cold nights, it might just be time to embrace some of the principles of Hygge
Hygge is very personal, there’s no “one size fits all” set of rules. Everyone can modify or add to a long list of activities or suggestions. With that said, here’s whatI plan to do this winter – in no particular order.
Listen to music: Music has a way of transporting us to a particular place and time like nothing else. From soothing, to relaxing, to energizing It can change our mood in an instant or validate our emotional state. There’s nothing like crying to a sad song or dancing like no one’s watching when your feeling happy.
Comfort food: Think warm soups, mac & cheese, and freshly baked bread. Comfort foods make us feel warm and cozy. I plan on making healthy versions of these standard favorites…I want to be comforted but I want my nutrients without packing on the pounds.
Socialize: Companionship is so important, and although I can be quite content being by myself and crave alone time, I still need the stimulation of good conversation and the validation that only comes with friendship. So coffee dates with girlfriends, dinner dates with my adult kids, and game nights will be in order.
Pamper yourself: Take a long hot soaking bath, go get a facial or manicure, and/or…
Do something you love to do: For me, reading is always a good way to wile away the hours on a cold stormy day. What is it for you?
Be creative: Revisit your favorite hobby or activity that transports you to another level. I love to paint, so time spent with my watercolors will be high on my priority list. I also love to bake, knit, crochet or sew – again all good activities to do while the snow flies.
Get Comfortable: Put on your comfy clothes, snuggle under a furry throw, sip something hot, and watch a good movie or get lost in a good book.
Let the ambiance flow: Light candles, sit next to a roaring fire, or both if available. Don’t have a fireplace? No worries, there are some great apps that can give you the illusion of a crackling fire – remember, it’s the ambiance.
Slow down and smell the roses: i.e take time to enjoy the little things in life!
Unplug from technology: We are bombarded daily with so much stimulation from our phones, computers and tablets that it can a relaxing change. To remove ourselves from all the negativity, stress and comparisons that come from social media can be a difficult adjustment. However, many experts are recommending that we each unplug a few hours a day to experience the real world.
Actually, this last item might be the most important…Do you find yourself constantly checking your phone or computer for the latest notice on your social media feeds? There are studies that show that, more and more, we are becoming addicted to our devices. Unfortunately, with this addiction comes more discontent, leading us to become dissatisfied with our lives. Also, the more connected we become the more disconnected we are to real life relationships and experiences.
I see the principles of Hygge as creating more intimate relationships and experiencing a more rich life by consciously living in the moment and appreciating the simple things. Therefore, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to live more in the present. I’m going to consolidate the time I spend on my devices and instead…this winter you’ll find me having coffee with a friend, painting, knitting, snuggled down with a good book, or taking a long walk to appreciate my surroundings..
So how about we all cozy up and put a little Hygge into our lives? What do you say? It might make for a better world…it certainly couldn’t hurt!
Until next time…