You may have already heard of the Danish concept of hygge, (proncounced "Hoo-gah") about which more than 20 books were published just this year. This word, which doesn't have a direct English translation, but essentially refers to a feeling of coziness and content, has become extremely popular recently. 2016 was a rough year for many of us, so it's not hard to see why the pain and struggle of the past 12 months would prompt an increase in desire to focus on caring for ourselves, helping ourselves (and our loved ones) feel comforted.
Denmark is often said to be the happiest nation on earth, and Meik Wiking (CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, and author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well) has a clear idea why; he says it comes down to hygge. One interview describes his book as having, "signature themes of good coffee, delicious cake, congenial company, red wine poured into hearty stews, and books read curled up by the fire while the rain hammers down outside." I'll admit this does sound to me like an excellent recipe for happiness. Here are some more concrete ideas about how to hygge this winter:
LIGHT CANDLES AROUND YOUR HOME
Low lighting provided by candles provides a very "hyggeligt" ambience. And bonus points if the candles also give off a soothing scent that you love!
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SOFTNESS
Think fuzzy slippers, cloud-like blankets, and soft cotton loungewear. It's easier for our mood to be peaceful if our physical body is in a state of ease and relaxation.
ENGAGE IN A RELAXING HOBBY
Read, watch Scandinavian noir murder mysteries on tv, start a weekly board game night with friends, play solitaire, listen to music, learn to knit, begin a yoga practice, invest in a coloring book and nice markers, there are lots of fun things to do indoors.
TAKE A WALK
At first glance, walking outside on a cold winter day might not seem all that comforting or cozy, but it can actually be a very hygge thing to do under the right circumstances. Picture bundling up in lots of layers of soft sweaters and scarves, going on a 20 or 30 minute walk, and then returning to your warm home and a hot cup of cocoa.
DRINK SOMETHING WARM
Speaking of that hot cup of cocoa, having something warm to drink can be a great way to invoke hygge into even the most mundane of activities. Maybe doing paperwork or completing chores around the house doesn't feel very hygge, but doing these things with a mug full of tea in your hand might.
Below, I have included an album from Icelandic artist Asgeir, (you can listen to it in both English and Icelandic) that helps me to connect with a sense of hygge. Give it a listen while scrolling through the photo gallery to help yourself embrace hygge and get ideas for how to incorporate it into your life this winter.
Chances are, you already have elements of hygge in your life. What are they? Did this post give you any ideas for additional hyggeligt activities you might want to try? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
P.S. I have an update about the frequency with which I will continue to post blogs in 2017. Throughout last year, I posted a new blog every week, with a different theme each month. This year, because the Journey deck is out and much of my time is spent sending out orders, (find it in the online store here if you haven't checked it out yet) as well as creating a brand NEW deck (more on that later), I will be posting less frequently. My intention is to post on the first Monday of each month, and I will do my best to make my monthly posts interesting, informative, and chock full of self care suggestions and tips. I will also continue to post daily on Instagram and Pinterest, and periodically on Facebook, so be sure to follow me on those platforms for consistent Self Care Solitaire updates (links at the bottom of this page).
Happy New Year to all!