In Danish, Hygge translates to comfort, togetherness and well-being – all things that are essential to our mental health during Winter. The lack of sunshine and short daylight hours is difficult for many of us during the darker, colder months, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common. Here’s 6 ways Hygge can help us:
1. Spread candlelight throughout the home
The power of light on our wellbeing cannot be overstated; and at a time of year when natural light is at a premium it is important that we manufacture our own light. Most Danish people have a lot of candles throughout the house and they light them to create a cosy ambience. Stock up on plain white candles at a local store, and place them in candleholders throughout your home.
2. Cook favourite comfort foods
In the Winter, we can overcome the darkness by cooking our favourite comfort foods. Not only does this give us extra energy to tolerate the extra stress of less daylight and plummeting temperatures, it can also improve our mood by allowing us to indulge in food that is comforting as well as delicious. To increase the feelings of cosiness, you could invite your friends to your home to enjoy a buffet of comfort foods or you could create a cooking party to learn how to prepare your favourite dishes. You can find recipe ideas from our Positive Living Group here: https://www.rbmind.org/3478-2/
3. Design a quiet oasis
The Winter months are a time for peace and tranquillity. A time to slow down and enjoy simply doing nothing. To help us do this we can design a quiet oasis inside our homes where we can rest and relax after work. This special area might be a space filled with soft cushions and warm blankets where you can indulge yourself in your favourite books, making you feel peaceful and cosy.
4. Visit a nearby café
On the weekends, you should have a favourite café to visit with your friends where you can sit for hours talking about nothing while drinking cups of tea and coffee, and eating delicious desserts. While spending time with your friends in this way, you may experience an intense feeling of contentment or cosiness that is indescribable, making it a Hygge moment.
5. Enjoy a favourite hobby
If you do not have time for a hobby during the other seasons of the year, then you might be able to in the slower Winter months. Choose a hobby that you can enjoy at home or with friends. You might want to learn how to knit for example, or organise a series of brisk, crisp Winter walks. A cosy hobby in the Winter can be as simple as listening to music in front of a roaring fire.
6. Create a home spa day
Spending a day at a spa can leave us feeling relaxed and refreshed but also perhaps poor. But it is actually possible to enjoy this experience without the expensive price tag. You can create a spa day at home by lighting scented aromatherapy candles and enjoying their soothing fragrance, soft light, and gentle warmth; and stocking up on face masks, creamy lotions, and fragrant oil or bath salts so you can luxuriate in a nice, warm tub. Don’t forget the music: for a truly spa-like experience, go for some soft, soothing classical, or perhaps something new-agey like Enya.
Whatever you do, remember above and beyond anything else to take your time! This is Hygge time! Let each individual experience be its own and pay attention to all the smells, sights, sounds, textures, and feelings each moment brings. Happy Hygge!