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Let’s face it, January and February can be a tough couple of months. Without the festivities and general busyness of Christmas it can feel like there isn’t all that much to look forward to beyond wishing for the warmer weather to hurry on up.
I have been a fan of the hygge concept for some time and think it is the ideal way to embrace these colder, sometimes bleak feeling months, and ensure that when spring finally does make an appearance, you don’t feel worn out and drawn but are fresh and raring to go.
If you are new to hygge (pronounced hoo-gah or hue-gah) then it is a Danish tradition which has recently swept across (seemingly) the world. It’s a way of living which the Danish apply to their lives all year round; considering the Danish are thought to be some of the happiest people in the world, perhaps there is something to be said for introducing a little of this tradition into our own lives!
According to The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking…
‘Hygge has been described as everything from “the art of creating intimacy”, “cosines of the soul”, “the absence of annoyance” to “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things”, “cosy togetherness” and “the pursuit of everyday pleasures”.
Hygge is essentially ‘creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying good things in life with good people’. Although I need very little excuse to embrace anything which essentially involves something akin to hibernating through winter, I also love that this is low cost, easy to introduce in small or large doses and has been proven to make an impact. Sign me up!
If this also sounds like your ideal way to see through the next few months then here are six easy ways to bring some hygge into your life:-
1. Buy an indoor plant
Bringing the outdoors, inside, is one of the best ways to bring some hygge into your life. Being outdoors and a love of nature is something most Danish people embrace and when they can’t get outside? They bring it inside to them! One of the best parts is that stores tend to be selling off their plants at this time of year! We picked up this Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree) from Ikea for an absolute steal and keeping it alive has been pretty easy seeing as we are keeping our house warm over the cooler months.
2. Go screen-free
I know how tempting it can be to while away the long, cold and gloomy evenings by scrolling mindlessly through social media. Many, many times I have fallen down an Instagram rabbit hole only to emerge hours later feeling jealous of people on their winter holidays, or those who manage to keep their houses beautifully tidy. Hygge is all about embracing the simple things and practising gratitude and that’s not always easy to do when you are constantly absorbing those little squares of perfection. To combat this, why not spend one evening screen-free? You could play board games or curl up with a good book. I have some great suggestions on the perfect book for a rainy day (which can also be applied to cold winter evenings!)
3. Get cosy
One of the main elements of hygge is being cosy and there really is no better time than during the winter. Give yourself permission to have a ‘day off’; put on your comfiest clothing, curl up under the blankets and watch a movie as a family. Or how about inviting some friends over? A large part of the hygge lifestyle is being sociable on a small scale and this is the perfect opportunity to do that. Grab those snacks and those blankets and bed in for the afternoon.
4. Go slow…on purpose!
I know one of the main elements of life (in general) that I struggle with is taking things slow. I always feel like I have to be up and out and doing something otherwise I’m wasting time. But then I find it hard in the winter months to get the motivation to do that (and then I feel guilty and the cycle continues…).
I love the idea of taking a slow morning, on purpose. Turn off the alarm and savour waking up when you wake up, choose to stay in bed, maybe eat your breakfast or enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee before getting up. Maybe grab a book or that magazine you were planning to read, or switch on some atmospheric music…
I realise that as parents this can be harder to do, especially if you have young children. So why not bring them into bed with you? With a bit of preparation you can set them up with a sticker book or something which holds their attention or stay in your PJs and pad downstairs instead; the idea is less, I suppose, about being in bed and more about enjoying a slower pace. Even if it’s just for a little while. We can be so guilty of rushing from one thing to the next, to the next, and forget to take the opportunity to just slow down.
5. Be creative
Winter can sometimes feel a little stifling, so challenge yourself to be creative. You could do some journaling, write a poem or maybe just enjoying some baking. It doesn’t need to be anything overly complicated. Then sit back and soak up whatever you have created
6. Get outdoors
This might seem counter-intuitive when most of my other suggestions have been about bedding down and getting cosy but actually getting outside can do you the world of good, especially in the winter. I know it can be difficult to work up the motivation, especially when the British weather can just be so blinking miserable…’oh rain again, hello old friend’ but embracing that brisk air, especially in the company of family and friends, can be revitalising and rejuvenating. All things which can be desperately needed in the months of January and February particularly.
A large part of the hygge ideal is to be mindful, grateful and to just switch off, and I find that happens most naturally when I’m outdoors. It is all too easy to reach for my phone or for the television remote when we are stuck inside but making the effort to get out, well then it’s just that little bit easier to look around and be grateful.
So there you go, my six tried and tested ways to hygge your way through winter. See you on the other side!