Anyone who’s remotely connected to social media knows that the newest winter trend is surrounding the Danish concept of “Hygge” [pronounced hoo-ga] aka coziness. I’m not knocking it- trust me, I’m all about wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and sitting by a fire. (In fact I have quite an obsession with buying throw blankets & candles….but that’s a whole other blog post). I guess what I’m trying to say, is that It’s funny to me to see something that has always been considered our family winter norms receive such publicity. Neither myself nor my husband are of Danish descent, yet we always tend to “hunker down” during the cold winter months and utilize our love for cooking, candles, comfy clothes or blankets, and most importantly- family time. It’s a season of reflection and feeding our souls (both figuratively & literally lol). My 3 girls tend to get cabin fever and we take them to a movie or bowling or on play dates, but the nonstop weekend plans slow down a bit between January & February.
With that said, if you’re someone like me who’s always on the go and could use a little down time, I’d like to share my top 10 ways to adapt to a “hygge” way of life:
Lots of candles. There’s something soothing about the look and smell of a candle that eases our mind.
*Recommendation: Some of my favorite candles can be found at www.dwhome.com . Especially the black currant pumpkin one *
I’m still learning about different essential oils myself, but I have to say that certain scents truly calm the mind and body. For me, its lavender (surprise! lol). Not only is it my favorite scent, but when I put it in the diffuser, my troubles tend to feel a little smaller. Other times, when I’m looking to feel renewed and rejuvenated, I prefer eucalyptus. The clean, fresh scent reminds me of a spa & makes me feel like I’m doing a little something special for myself.
*Recommendation: My two favorite brands are dōTERRA and Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic *
3. Yoga & Pilates
Despite being lean and occasionally running, I prefer more low impact, controlled sports. Pilates gives me an excellent opportunity to strengthen & lengthen my muscles as well as my core. I remember last summer when I tried my first Pilates class. I figured it would be nice and easy going, followed by a glass of wine…..did I mention that this class was held outside at a winery?….anyway, this petite blonde instructor comes over with her boombox and a bunch of exercise balls…..”ok, I got this” I thought. WRONG. Teeny tiny movements with that exercise ball used muscles I didn’t even know I had. But, despite the soreness (which lasted 3 DAYS), I have to tell you that there was a sense of quiet and focus that I hadn’t experienced trying other activities. Yoga, obviously, does the same. The practice of Yoga is centered around the breath, and how your breath coordinates with the movements of the body. Incorporating Yoga (specifically hatha and vinyasa styles) into my life has made a HUGE difference. I recommend yoga to anyone and everyone.
*Recommendation: When I didn’t know where to start with my yoga practice, I attended a local beginners class. That’s my #1 recommendation. However, if you’d like a good book to accompany it, try The Living Clearly Method by Hilaria Baldwin. Although not all of us can have 3 children consecutively and look as awesome as her, she really is a relatable public figure with a lot of great knowledge & insight*
Escaping into a book is perhaps my favorite way to forget life’s stressors. It’s probably my favorite thing to do.period. (YES I know, I’m a nerd). No matter the topic or format (magazine, newspaper, book, etc…) reading is simply nourishment for the body and soul.
*Recommendation: This blog post would never end if I got started recommending books, so I’ll just tell you what I’m currently reading: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. Check it out if you like historical fiction.*
5. Take time with Friends and Family
Living a Hygge lifestyle means slowing down, disconnecting from technology or work, and enjoying time with those that matter most. It doesn’t have to be a huge family reunion, this could simply be a family dinner or inviting another couple over for a board game night (which for me translates to wine and cards against humanity with my best girlfriends 😉 lol ). But seriously, take a day off from work to go hiking with your kids, or go grocery shopping with a fellow mom and do meal prepping together. Just try to slow it down for a minute and have a conversation with those dear to us. Don’t worry, the crazy world will be waiting for you when you return.
*Recommendation: No recommendation needed here. I’ll just share that I love cooking with my husband and getting outside with my kids. We have yet to re-institute Sunday family dinners I experienced as a child- but I’m working on it lol.*
6. Appreciate the Little Things
Appreciate the giggles from your baby or the sound of your loved one’s laughter. Take time to literally smell the roses while passing the florist. Linger over your cappucino instead of gulping it down to make it to your morning meeting. Remember, life goes too quickly. When we are mindful of the little things around us, our brain begins to rewire itself. I’m no scientist, but the little bit of research I have read shows that being mindful (aka appreciating the little things in life) can add to a happier, healthier life.
*Recommendation: None needed.*
7. Take Pictures
No I don’t mean take 1,000 selfies. The pictures I’m referring to don’t need to be expert (or even instagram) quality. But trust me, when you’re older, you are going to want pictures to look back on.
*Recommendation: Take photos of people, places, and things that are meaningful to you. Just remember to enjoy the experience beyond the camera lens. *
8. Nourish your Body
I wish I could say “eat what makes you happy”, but, if that were true, I’d eat nothing but crusty bread, cheese, and chocolate. Those foods are great in moderation, but don’t forget to feed your body foods that will help it function at 100% (or close to it). For me as a mom, that simply means eating three meals a day, with one or two salads or smoothies thrown in there. Honestly though, take care of your body. Drink water, eat some plants, splurge every once in a while, and do what feels right.
*Recommendation: Nourishing your body isn’t limited to food and drink. This can include self care such as getting your hair or nails done or getting a massage. As mentioned above, do what feels right for your body and listen to what it needs. *
9. Listen to Music
Did you know that Spotify has it’s own Hygge station?! It’s entitled “Cosy and Relaxed” and is comprised of a Nordic playlist. I’m not saying you have to go that far and listen to it, but try listening to whatever music makes you forget the tasks of daily life and makes you feel relaxed.
*Recommendation: I happen to use Pandora when I’m running around, but there’s nothing like playing an old vinyl record. My husband and I love to listen to my grandmother’s old records (such as Frank Sinatra) while cooking together or sitting on the couch enjoying a warm beverage. *
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST……
10. Get Outside!
It’s a fact that nature has a calming effect on our bodies. Even a few minutes outside listening to the birds or walking on a trail can help you create an atmosphere of hygge.
*Recommendation: Here’s the link to some Scenic NY Parks, many of which my family and I visit regularly: https://www.scenichudson.org/parks *
As always, thanks for reading. I hope you find you’re comfy, cozy place, wherever that may be.