After being battered around by the winds and rain on my way home last night and losing a battle with my new £22 ‘wind-resistant (pah!) umbrella, I must admit that I felt a little defeated. It’s tempting at times like these curl up and cry, waiting for warmer months to arrive but instead, when the days are short, nights are long and the weather is cold and blustery, I turn to the Danish concept of Hygge to get me through the long, winter months.
So, what is Hygge? Hygge, (pronounced, ‘hooga’) is often translated as cosiness but actually means so much more than that. My understanding of Hygge is the overall sense of happiness and well being that one gets from feeling truly comfortable and content. Warmth, light, peace, loved ones. Whatever it takes to get you to that happy place.
Originating in Denmark, the concept of Hygge was created in order to counteract the long, cold, dark winters were Danes can be subject to many as 17 hours of darkness in a day. Rather than sink into depression though, the people of Denmark would instead take shelter inside and transform their homes into centres of cosiness and comfort, bringing together all of the things that make them most content.
|My sister cosied up in the Hygge environment we made in our Airbnb apartment during our Valencia trip|
Good company is central to the Hygge experience whether it’s that of friends and family or perhaps your own. Run yourself a bubble bath and catch up on that book you never got to finish. Put on your cosiest PJs and binge-watch your favourite Netflix series. Invite your best friends over for platters of your favourite comfort foods and have a girly night in. Serve up tear-and-share bread and pasta in a huge bowl. Order in a Chinese, a large, cheesy pizza or combine your efforts to cook a three course meal. Whatever makes you happy.
Hygge doesn’t have to mean ditching your diet either. It’s not about over-indulging but just making sure that you are comfortable and content. If you’re counting calories, swap indulgent hot chocolates and cream for warming herbal infused teas, not only soothing and relaxing you but also flushing out your system and hydrating you because healthiness increases your chances of happiness which will increase your chances of Hygge. Look up healthy versions of seemingly indulgent foods like these low fat pancakes, so that you still get that comforting ,warm feeling without any of the guilt.
You may think that you’re simply too busy to ‘indulge’ in such things as long baths, and book time but Hygge is all about the little things that can make a difference too. A scented candle burning softly in the background while you work not only smells great but the additional connotations of light and warmth can subconsciously lift your mood. Working a lot? Surround yourself with uplifting quotes and sayings like the ones below to remind yourself what it is that you’re working towards and just how far you’ve come.
A good night’s sleep is essential for a positive mental state which will, in turn, make Hygge all the more achievable. Now, I must admit that I’m not the best at getting my eight hours (usually favouring staying up until lord-knows-what time editing posts and YouTube videos!) so the little sleep that I do get is very precious to me. I like to use the app, Sleep Cycle, which tracks your movements while you sleep. You can give it a time window, e.g. ‘between 6.30 and 7.00am’ and the in-app alarm will sound when you’re at your very lightest point in your sleep cycle during this time making it much easier to wake up. Honestly, I think it’s a god send and best of all, it’s free in the iTunes store.
A decent mattress is also a must for a decent night’s sleep. There’s nothing worse than a night tossing and turning followed by a day of aches and pains. If I wake up with a neck/backache from sleeping poorly, I have no chance of Hygge happiness the next day at all. Not to mention the health benefits that peaceful sleep can bring from energy, endorphins and faster healing to smoother skin and glossier hair. Did you know that you should change your mattress every eight years at least? If you’re due for a new one, check out Mattress Next Day and you could be a sleeping beauty by the weekend. Can’t splash out for a new one right now? They have a great clearance mattress section or you can try a memory foam mattress topper in the meantime for added support and softness while you save up.
It shouldn’t have to be a weekend or special occasion for you to focus on feeling comfortable at home. A search for ‘Hygge’ on Pinterest will bring up images of plush, soft blankets and warm fireplaces. Cosy corner couches and socked feet snugged together. A fluffy, white duvet pressed up against a rainy window. Hygge is all about the small, everyday things that can help us to bringing the missing warmth and light of summer into our homes until the warmer months return. Make a list of all of the little things that make you smile, a new nail polish colour, a phone call to your grandma, listening to an old album you used to love. Make a plan to do these things more often this winter to lift your mood and keep your spirits up.
How do you Hygge? Is there anything that you like to do to make cheer yourself up in winter? Please do share your ideas with us in the comments section so that we can all feel a little better this winter!
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x