A Crash Course in Hygge

Hello winter! Well, not quite yet, but man are we ready. Some people are not fans of snow and cold, others of us (cough, cough) love it. So, from those of us that love it, to those who feel they are just stuck in it, here is how we enjoy the winter. One word, Hygge (h(y)o͞oɡə), the Nordic idea of cozy. Hygge goes further than candles and blankets, we are offering a crash course. Here is the beginning of a lifestyle that makes winter magical.

Hygge Your Home

First things first, get cozy in your own home. Winter is cold and can make us feel a little trapped, especially if we aren’t into outdoor winter sports and adventures. Instead of feeling trapped make your home, or a room in you home, look like those magical winter cabin pictures. That’s right, we are talking cozy blankets, candles, and more plants than seem necessary. Most importantly don’t forget the books, piano music, and the perfect tea/coffee cup.

Living in Minnesota, I always joke that I love winter because it is a solid 6 months where it is socially acceptable for me to hole up in my house. Joke or not, it is true. So, take that new-found you time and accept it. Stop fighting with the weather, and slow down. Here is how to Hygge your house, or room, in three simple steps.

Step 1:

Deep clean your space. Yes, that means the vacuum, mop, and duster. It is hard to get cozy if the space is dusty.

Step 2:

De-clutter. Get rid of it. We are talking Marie Kondo your space for real. If it doesn’t spark joy, it is out, my friends. Or course she isn’t the first person to tell us to declutter, but she is so cute when she does. Clutter clouds our brains and is just generally uncozy.

Step 3:

Find the perfect cozy items. Blankets, pillows, candles, plants, wool socks, the perfect cardigan, coffee cups, tea kettles, books, journals, simple art, whatever it is that will make you feel cozy.

Hygge Your Activities

Now that we have our house cozy and like a cabin dream, let’s talk about getting outside in the cold and truly enjoying it. The Nordic culture is big on outside activity like cross-country skiing, hiking, and snow shoeing. Whatever it is, they love the outdoors. You may not love the outdoors and that’s okay, but let’s figure out how to make it through those activities that we might get invited to and actually enjoying them.

Get the right equipment. It is time to invest in a good winter coat and pair of boots, if you haven’t yet. We totally get the mindset that there is no need to buy those things if you aren’t even interested in going outside, but not having those things makes it so uncomfortable when you do. Coats and boots last forever. Don’t forget the hat, scarves, and gloves. If it is a long amount of time in the cold weather flannels aren’t a bad idea. Most people don’t enjoy the winter because they don’t like being cold, who does? Making it so you aren’t cold is the first step.

Slowing down and taking in nature is the next step. When I go outside in the winter the first thing I notice is the quiet, it is like the whole world is sleeping. It is a nice change from the bustle of work and technology. The second thing I notice is all that is happening. Take a look around and see the little creatures going about their lives. It is fascinating to see how they have adapted to sustain the freezing temperatures. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors. Getting that dose of fresh air helps to rid our bodies of that stagnant feeling that comes with the cold. It helps to combat seasonal depression. The more you get out and revel in it the easier it gets.

Hygge Your Friendships

Hygge is all about sharing this idea of cozy with others. It is easy to get caught up in the big events that come with the holidays. As well as this idea that every time we have company over it has be a big hosted event, or if we go out there is dinner and drinks and conversation. Everything is big and boisterous which is fun but can quickly take a toll, especially on our introverted friends. There is nothing that says we need to serve a 5-course meal when we have company over. We don’t need the perfect table settings. We need a cozy space and good company. We need to slow down and enjoy a natural conversation with our guests. When we host big meals or attend a hosted meal, the host is almost always too busy to talk. They are in the kitchen or running around making sure everything is perfect. I invite you to slow these interactions down. Skip the meal, set out a cheese plate and serve some tea. Enjoy a fika (a coffee break with a sweet treat, such as a pastry) in the middle of the day with your coworkers. Remove the activity of your social meet ups and learn to be in the presence of all that are there. It may feel weird at first, it may need a little warning to those attending, but it will eventually fall into place and feel natural. There is no pressure, just conversation, a warm beverage, basic treats, maybe some music. It is a natural state of being, people will adore it.

Winter is a time for Hygge. A time to slow down. For many the slow down is what freaks them out the most. The slow down feels like a trap or stagnation. We are here to tell you that it is not. It is the perfect time to recoup. You may find that once you are in the flow of slowing down, that stagnant feeling leaves. The energy you need to keep moving forward in all of your activities is still there. By slowing down, relaxing, and enjoying our time and company we allow that energy to flow. Settle in to the cold months, they happen whether we want them to or not, we may as well enjoy them

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