You may have heard about Hygge. It is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day things more meaningful, beautiful or special. I would call this being mindful, but hygge is also like an art.
Hygge is pronounced ‘Hue-gah’ so completely opposite to the way I have used it in my title! However it is about slow living, the absence of anything annoying, a gentle way of life. Dinner with friends is hygge. Candles are hygge. Denmark is often stated as one of the most happy countries in the world. Could their observation of hygge and appreciation for it be the key to why they are so happy?
Lately I’ve been embracing hygge. Actually what I’ve been doing is tuning myself to the seasons, but that is a very hygge thing to do! Autumn and winter are Yin months, we are meant to be slower. It is nature’s way of getting us to relax and restore our reserves after a very productive spring and summer cycle. I don’t know about you but I had a very, very busy spring and summer. Work wise I was involved in many projects including the biggest weekend of my year – BritMums Live! I had several important brand projects on the go and now my obligations to these are met, I feel like I can take things at a calmer pace, it’s actually nice to feel more cosy – after an odd readjustment stage where I felt like ‘what was I missing?’ because I wasn’t rushing around like a crazy woman!
I’m settling into a routine that suits the time of year and my wishes for it. I like my children to be near in this season. I like them to be near all year round, but my teenager wants to make plans with her friends when the evenings are lighter and I understand that. At this time of year she wants to FaceTime them instead and watch Christmas movies on the TV. In the summer I made plans to do some home decorating to freshen things up before Christmas. We are nearly at the end of this messy project that has seen the home under piles of boxes whilst items got stored and now things are finding places in the home again – order is being resumed!
In my twenties I suffered from depression but at that time in my life I felt an internal compulsion to ‘prove myself’ in my career. I was always on the go – never resting. I had too much to do! I believe that depression comes from our own internal resistance to letting ourselves be slower in these months. I embrace slow now. It is calming, and now I am in a place where I have nothing to prove.
My home design project which I will blog about when it is finally complete, has been my bedroom. We have installed an ensuite bathroom and moved doorways, added new lighting and power points and created a built in storage area for the TV and drawers. My bedroom is now both functional and cosy. We have added plenty of mood lighting, so I can make choices on how I want to light the room in any situation – I can go all out bright if I need light to see what I’m doing – housework for example. Or I can use my soft downlighter for a cosy glow when I’m watching TV. If I just need to do make-up then I have a lighting solution in the vanity area – I have never had so much flexibility! Lighting is very hygge – it is used to make spaces relaxed and warm. Probably because of the Danish climate where the skies are grey.
I want to roll with the seasons, creative and active in the spring and summer, reflective and restorative in the autumn and winter. My environment now allows this. It’s all about quality of life and making conscious decisions. I love that the Danes have a nice life and don’t deny themselves anything. No feast or famine for them – just what they want, when they want it without guilt. In January a lot of Brits will go on diets, trying to cut down and eat light at a time when it is cold outside and we need to go hearty and woolly. Does that feel natural to you? We can still eat well and not overindulge in winter and not have a ‘bikini body’ situation to worry about in spring and summer. It’s about a mindful, consistent approach all year round. Tuning into your body and eating what it craves.
At the end of the day isn’t that what it is all about? Tuning into yourself and doing what you crave? Listening to your inner wisdom that is there – it’s just we have forgotten to trust ourselves so we don’t recognise it when we hear it. This winter, get back in touch with you – go cosy. I’m all for fleecy blankets and candles, warm comfort food and cuddles with my family, I 100% adore the bright sunshine but I can’t get that so much at the moment, so I’m making do with my daylight alarm clock to wake me in the morning and the light box on my desk. Winter doesn’t have to be bleak – if you decide to go hygge!
Tell me how you are getting hygge at the moment?