Angie Miller's picture

Hygge -Warm Your World From the Inside Out

I try, I really try, but I don’t love winter. Never have. The short days and grey skies make me feel so blah.  The frigid cold makes my body tight and achy.  I stay indoors more and see my friends and family less. Yes, I load up on vitamin D and sit in front of a sun lamp, but it’s just not enough to cut through the S.A.D. i endure every year.

Then last winter, a dear friend who has listened to me whine and lament year after year- and happens to be one of those crazy people who actually gets excited about the coming of winter- was convinced I could learn to embrace it too if I prepared properly and got into the right mindset.  She gave me this wonderful little book called How to Hygge, The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life.  I think there may be hope..

The Nordic countries have long been recognized as some of the the happiest people in the world.  It’s hard to understand how this could be, considering they have to bear longer, darker, colder winters than we do.  Sounds like a nightmare to me.  But necessity is the mother of invention, and in order to survive and thrive in such an extreme climate, they cultivated the custom of Hygge (hoo-guh) which means, basically, the art of getting cozy. 

Rather than allowing winter to be something dreadful, that is out of our control and simply happens to us, Hygge would suggest that we fully embrace the season- whatever season- with special preparations and traditions.  Following are a few of the ones I found most helpful for winter:

-Create a warm and cozy ambiance in your home for the season.  Bring out the furry throw blankets, and the candles and twinkly lights to brighten up the long nights!  We’re burning gingerbread and pumpkin spice candles throughout the house, so not only does it look warm and inviting, it smells amazing when I walk in the door.  If you don’t have a wood burning fireplace, piñon incense will give your home that campfire smell.

-Indulge a little.  Focus first on simple, natural foods to nourish your body. Cook up a delicious pot of soup or chili.  Then spend some time baking something a little decadent.  It’ll warm up the house and make it smell so inviting...  and then share!

-Get together! It’s so easy to isolate once the weather gets rough, but we need to stay connected to the ones we love.  Have a dinner party, potluck style or invite people over for a board game night.  Rotate houses throughout the season.. Conviviality makes the heart happy.

-Cozy up your wardrobe.  Bring out the wooly socks and sweaters, the puffy coats, hats and scarves.... Make sure your wardrobe has everything you need to stay warm even on the most frigid days.  I know that this seems like common sense, but I took a good look at how I dress myself last winter and realized that i was often a layer or item short and I would end up cold and miserable if I were out for longer than 30 mins.  Pile on the layers and fend off the chill.

-Now that you're dressed warm, get outside!  Take a walk in a park or go ice skating.  Being out in nature has a slew of positive benefits on our bodies and our psyches.  It’s so important to move and stay active, to take in some fresh air and unfiltered sunlight, even during the coldest months.  It may not be lush and green, but the winter landscape has its own special, quiet beauty. My son and I like to identify the animal tracks we find in the snow and name the winter birds we see along our walks in Frick Park.

So go get your Hygge on this year.  Open your heart to the season and warm your world from the inside out.

 

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