A Hygge Happy Glow

Autumn is definitely upon us…  the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and the leaves on the trees are turning all colours of red and gold.  While I do love this time of year I normally dread the drudgery of winter (I’m a cold creature).  But this year I’ve decided I’m going to try to embrace the Danish concept of hygge, which has been popping up on my radar quite a bit in the last few weeks.  While I was vaguely aware of the term before, the fact that Denmark is often deemed one of the happiest countries in the world made me stop and take notice this year.

So what is hygge and how can it help achieve a healthy, happy glow?

The term seemingly comes from a Norwegian word meaning “wellbeing” and has now evolved into the Danish attitude to life.  The best translation I’ve come across for hygge is “cosiness of the soul”.

Louisa Thomsen Brits, in her book The Book of Hygge:  The Danish Art of Living Well, describes it as “a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered…. It’s a feeling of engagement and relatedness of belonging to the moment and each other.  It’s a sense of abundance and contentment.  Hygge is about being not having.  It can be found by asking yourself where you feel most at home, what are the activities and customs that anchor you, who makes you feel at ease, what is it that contributes most to your sense of wellbeing, what do you do to unwind, what do you reach for to create comfort?”

Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly:  Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country says that hygge is about “being kind to yourself – indulging, having a relaxed, cosy time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer which can be good for the soul”.

I really like these concepts – connectedness with loved ones, being present, being grateful for the abundance in your life, being kind to yourself, relaxing, appreciating little indulgences and creating a cosy atmosphere at home where you want to nestle in!   All of which go a long way to bringing more happiness and health into our lives.

So what will bringing some hygge into my life this winter look like?

Maybe it’ll be buying some new cosy cushions and throws for making curling up on the couch a little more pleasurable.

Maybe it’ll be making more time to relax with a great book while drinking a delicious hot herbal tea surrounded by candles with a beautiful scent, wearing something extra cosy.

Maybe it’ll be baking some home-made goodies (healthy versions of course) and eating them while watching my favourite movie under a duvet.

Maybe it’ll be having family or friends over for dinner and really being present in their company.

They’re pretty good for a start but I’m sure there are plenty more ways of embracing hygge.  Maybe winter won’t be such a drudge after all this year!

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