Embracing Hygge in Your Everyday Life

For me and many around me, 2017 brought a lot of stress, mental exhaustion and need for self-care. There has been a lot going on to deal with (women’s health and safety issues, economic uncertainty, violence around the world, the list goes on), that embracing hygge couldn’t be gaining momentum at a better time.

Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish word that doesn’t have an English equivalent, but according to Oxford Dictionaries, is described as:

A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)

Going into 2018 is the perfect time to embrace the trend that is gaining popularity. Use this opportunity to incorporate hygge for self-care and warmth.

How to incorporate hygge

Since it’s a feeling and not a thing, hygge is different for everyone. How you embrace it is up to you and your needs. The focus is on comfort and doing what brings you warmth and happiness.

Maybe it’s a food (think of a warm, rich hot dish in Minnesota; maybe a creamy mac and cheese in the south; or perhaps a lobster roll in New England), a cozy blanket and good book, a pumpkin- or cinnamon-scented candle, nice body products or even a sweet treat.

Comfort and coziness doesn’t have to be the only part of it. For me, I’ll be double-thinking my use of technology, instead opting for things that nourish my soul and have me live in the moment. These include:

  • Continuing self-care at least a few times a week
  • Hosting a game night
  • Making time for catching up with friends
  • Focusing on cultivating my garden
  • Sharing coffee and conversations with strong women
  • Putting my family first

To begin, think about little ways you can make your environment and surroundings more comfortable in simple ways, or opt to connect with people and things around you.

Learn more about and how to hygge on the Visit Denmark hygge page.

Criticism of hygge

Hygge might not be for everyone, and even if you incorporate it, it’s good to be aware of criticisms about it as not to go overboard or lose site of the meaning and intention.

It’s been said that the slow pace and somewhat specific way to incorporate a feeling could be boring or stifling. Because the point is to create your own cozy sphere, it’s said it could be exclusive of other people and thoughts, creating too much of a realm of just what you believe. And others don’t like hygge because there isn’t an opportunity to be too boastful, even about good things.

Be yourself

Make 2018 a little more about living as comfortable and relaxing a life to take a mental break from the chaos outside.

Don’t become so enclosed in your own world. Find the small bits and pieces of the hygge concept that work for you to live a more low-key and comfortable 2018.

What parts of hygge do you already do or plan to do this year?

 

 

 

Self Care During the Holidays

Self care during the holidays | Kale and AleStress, sadness and depression are always difficult, but can easily be exaggerated in December, so self care is essential. Daylight is (much, depending on where you live) shorter. Commitments and expectations are increased as the holidays and end of year approach. Time fills so quick with parties, last-minute job tasks, baking, shopping, seeing people—the list goes on.

For me, this entire year has had its challenges. Personal time with myself and others has been pushed aside while trying to focus (mostly unsuccessfully) on other things. I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to give myself and my relationships more time recently.

When I’ve do that—be it in the form of a vacation, family event, happy hour with people I don’t often see or getting together with like-minded women—it has felt so rare and special. Every time it’s refilled my emotional tank and I walk away realizing I’m not taking enough time for this. Life’s too short.

With quality time being my primary love language, I’ve spent too much time and tears this year feeling sadness, guilt and anger for not making quality time for myself and the important people in my life. That is not OK.

Ways I’m Focusing on Self Care

This holiday season I’ve given myself permission to drop all non-essential things, be in the moment and focus on connections. I’ve tried to make this season as stress-free as possible. How?

  • Finding the most simple recipe for a cookie exchange when I know I’m not a baker
  • Buying a lot of wine at once so I can grab a bottle from the cabinet for at-hand hostess gifts
  • Only saying yes to things that are important to me
  • Trying to get people to forgo gifts (shopping and finding personal gifts is very stressful for me) and spend quality time (my love language) with them
  • Simplifying shopping by doing it online or shipping to store
  • Focusing on making memories
  • Focusing on self care, including working out, resting, drinking lots of water and using essential oils

Get Help

Are you feeling disconnected from what the holidays are about? Don’t deny your feelings, focus on how and why you feel that way.

The Mayo Clinic offers ways to cope with difficult times during the holidays, including:

  • Be realistic
  • Stick to a budget
  • Say no

See more tips on the Mayo Clinic website.

How are you handling all the holidays throw your way?

There is nothing wrong with sitting things out. Your personal health is the most important thing. I’ve had much more difficult years than I am having this year, and I learned so much to help get me through the hard times. If you need more help, please seek it. The National Suicide Prevention LIfeline is available online or by calling 800-273-8255