While we may be fortunate to have 300 days of sun in Denver, wintertime still brings shorter days, colder temperatures and the instinct to hunker down and get cozy. It can be difficult to fight the feelings of melancholy that the cold and dark bring – we hope the following tips help you find some sparks of joy this winter.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is the Danish principle of coziness that creates feelings of contentment and good well-being. With Denmark being one of the more northern countries on the planet, winters are long, dark and often frigid. So, how are the Danes some of the happiest people on earth? Signs point to hygge.
In an article about hygge from Everyday Health, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living says, “’Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things.’ Hygge is also about creating a comforting social and emotional environment for yourself; it’s about who you choose to surround yourself with and what you choose to spend your time doing.
‘It is about being with the people we love; a feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and are allowing ourselves to let our guard down,’ Wiking says.”
Getting started with hygge is easier than one may think. Here are a few tips to begin:
Embrace the sights of the season, in whatever way makes you happy. Whether that’s surrounding yourself with the sights and smells of nature, twinkling lights, colors representing your favorite holiday or simply keeping the curtains open to look at the world outside, opening yourself up to the unique sights of wintertime can enhance your well-being.
Light a fire (safely). If your living space allows it, light candles in your favorite scents. If you have a fireplace, take some time to sit by it with a fire crackling inside. If you don’t have access to candles or a fireplace, this free YouTube video has a live feed of a cozy fire going 24/7.
Find softness. Blankets, sweaters, hats and more – lean into the coziness soft textures bring. If you have a favorite sweater, or that one blanket that perfectly wraps around your shoulders, now is the time to bring them out. Take a few mindful minutes each time you use them to appreciate the warmth they bring.
Slow down and keep it simple. The winter season brings a wide variety and number of holidays, which can feel chaotic (especially if your family celebrates more than one). Take some time to prioritize self-care, quiet days at home and releasing the need to fit everything into your schedule.
Turn away from scrolling, and toward each other. Carve out some time to be with loved ones, without the distraction of social media or news. Intentional time with your favorite people fosters important connections, creates feelings of trust and strengthens bonds during a time when the cold and dark can make us feel lonely and isolated. If you don’t have loved ones nearby, find time to video chat or talk on the phone with minimal distractions.
A Cozy Frame of Mind
Coziness is physically aided by big blankets, nice candles and a cup of hot tea, and the real impact of coziness comes from a person’s mindset about it.
The intentionality behind hygge has a positive impact on our well-being, with several benefits including:
– Decreased stress
– Better sleep
– Feeling calmer at home
– Improved connection with loved ones
– Improved feelings of gratitude
In an article from Piedmont Healthcare, Lauren Garvey, MS, CRC, NCC, a counselor and facilitator at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont said, “I think of hygge as mindfulness wrapped in a blanket. The whole concept is geared toward contentment, being present and being comfortable in your body, mind and space. In our culture, we are often hustling and striving, moving forward at a fast pace. If you are practicing hygge, you are embracing presence over productivity.”