This time of year has often felt a bit challenging for me. The long, dark winters and the paradox of my body wanting to slow down, while my culture wants me to rev up and ‘spend, spend, spend!’ Oh and to be REALLY happy about everything, all the time!
Putting the tragedy and uncertainty aside for a moment - when Christmas was cancelled during the pandemic, I remember there was also a secret relief both I and so many of my friends and family felt. Why? Because the pressure and demands on our time, our energy and our wallets can feel so overwhelming, that there’s very little space for a quiet joy.
So for the past few years, I’ve been switching it up and choosing to identify as a Dane! Danes are considered the happiest people on the planet and I think in part it’s because these folks have the winter down in a way that speaks to my soul – maybe yours too!
The practice of “Hygge” - this hard to pronounce ("hooga") lifesttle practice, is about taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about - or even by yourself - to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.
Meik Wiking, author of "The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well", shares the ten principles of the Hygge Manifesto: Atmosphere, Presence, Pleasure, Equality, Gratitude, Harmony, Comfort, Truce, Togetherness and, finally, Shelter. Gosh, there’s so much in here to explore!
Hygge can be created with environment - fireplaces, candles, blankets, hearty homemade food, hot drinks and soft comfy clothing. Do joggers or PJs count as hygge? Hell Yes! There's even a word in Danish for them - Hyggebukser are that pair of pants you'd never be caught dead wearing in public, but practically live in when you're at home on the weekends binging on Netflix. (You’ve got to love the Danes )
But it’s more than the cosy ‘things’. it’s also the quality of attention and presence we cultivate that makes it so enjoyable – read the list above again. So no guilt trips or shaming ourselves, no people-pleasing or pressure. Think less FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and more JOMO (Joy of Missing Out)
What Hygge also isn't? Staring at your phone all day or hibernating indoors alone all winter. While staying inside enjoying hot chocolate and a book is certainly hygge, getting outside to go for a long walk (yes, even in the winter) and spending time with friends and family is also a crucial part of the idea.
So instead of complaining about the bad weather this winter, let’s light some candles and hunker down with a cup of tea and that book you've been meaning to read for months. Or if you're feeling more social, cook up a pot of your famous chili recipe and invite your friends over for a board game night. YOU my love get to choose how you curate this winter and festive season – maybe even creating some new family rituals! Whatever you do, full permission granted to craft out ways to find a quiet and simple joy. Have fun getting hygge with it!
All love and cosiness to you Deborah 💛