That mid-winter slump hit hard. Christmas and New Year’s were over, and many of us were deep in a deep freeze with ice and snow, and I was feeling the pressure of New Year's resolutions that weren't, well, resolving themselves too easily.
Basically, I just felt off. All I wanted was to cozy up with a good book, a blanket and a warm fire.
Then a coworker shared with me a story on a Danish lifestyle trend called Hygge. Pronounced "hue-guh," hygee is a concept that focuses on coziness, contentment and well-being.
Hygge not an unusual concept. The Scots have "còsagach" (“kosgough”). Norwegians have Gezelligheid. Germans have Gemütlichkeit.
In a lifestyle that's on-the-go, coupled with work and home pressures, hygge - or its counterparts - may be just what many of us need – and not just for the stress reduction.
A few friends and I now take "mental health breaks" for a quick "hygge moment," a walk around the building, or settling down in a room to touch base for five or 10 minutes. There are no fires, no candles, but plenty of camaraderie – perfect for this person who tends to plow right through her lunch hours. It's made the difference in my workday, and I'm less stressed when I head home at the end of the day.
Here are some of the ways to bring hygge into your home and how it may help your health:
1. Prioritize the Family Meal
Spending time with family and friends, especially around mealtimes, is a simple way to step back and enjoy each others' company. And parents, children of families who regularly eat together also less likely to have weight or behavior problems! Here's how to make that family meal a priority.
2. Unplug from Technology
With a communications job that requires being on call 24/7, setting down the smartphone is one of the biggest challenges I have. I have to remember to give myself screen-free time every day, particularly when other family members are awake and in the hours before bedtime. But unplugging from technology – yes, the very technology that we thought would connect us more – has a great benefit for your personal relationships.
3. Enjoy Nature
Embracing hygge doesn't force you to spend all day inside.Bundle up in warm winter gear and go for a walk, sled with your kids or otherwise enjoy your day. Check out a winter hike at a state park, go on an eagle watch, ski or toboggan. Not only do you create memories, but the sunlight and exercise can help boost your mood.
4. Share the Spirit
Hygge is about continually gathering with loved ones to bond over a familiar and recurring ritual. This could mean sharing a morning cup of coffee together, reading a new book, or indulging in a thoughtful conversation with a loved one.
5. Enrich Yourself Spiritually
Immerse yourself in a spiritual book, prayer or meditation. Check out these four ideas for spiritual enrichment.
6. Savor Winter Traditions
Just because we're past the holidays doesn't mean we can't continue to celebrate winter. Whether it's sledding with your child, going ice skating or cozying up by the fire, taking time to enjoy the season with friends and family can warm up those chilly days.
By Robbie Schneider
Social Media Manager