Whether it’s the post-holiday slump or just the general malaise that comes with the cold winter season, it’s easy to feel down this time of year. It’s been debated, but it’s generally felt that the lack of sunshine and warmth has both emotional and physical effects on us.
This said, I’ve always wondered how this might compare for people living in the Scandinavia. You know – places that are known for having super long dark winter days. Well, you might already have heard of hygge (pronounced similar to “hue-ga”), a philosophy in Denmark that translates to coziness, a welcoming atmosphere, and enjoying the good things in life.
Odds are you’ve already experienced hygge without even realizing it. Christmastime (and all the songs that describe it) is the perfect explanation of how to get your hygge on. It’s the time of year that we most embrace and enjoy the chill of winter (and the warmth of snuggling up inside) with far less complaining and dread.
So, here are some ways to put some more hygge into your family’s winter (although you can still experience the philosophy year-round, too).
– Good food. For the adults, this might mean a nice wine or warm spiced drink of some sort; for children, some hot chocolate (with mounds of whipped cream) would do the trick. A roast or favorite stick-to-your-ribs meal will also up the cozy factor. This is pretty much the idea of comfort food, through and through, and slowing down to enjoy it.
– Don’t avoid people. Isn’t it weird how we almost never see or speak to our neighbors during the winter? We just moved to our new house and we’ve met one or two of them, once. “It’s just part of winter,” we assume. And it is.
But this doesn’t have to be so. Avoiding social situations is an easy way to get into the winter slump. So, make it a point to have friends or family over, even though it’s after the holidays. Or go meet up to enjoy some snowy outside fun.
– Up the cozy factor. This is where many websites and stores have commercialized on hygge, big-time, but you can use what you have to create a comfortable setting. For nights in with your family, pull out blankets and pillows to make things more comfortable. If you have a working fireplace, make use of it. Use candles (safely) to set a glowing, cozy mood.
– Less style, more comfort. Maybe you’re used to putting on a nicer outfit when friends are coming over. Instead, let them know that comfort is the name of the game and follow suit yourself – wear your favorite cozy sweater and soft socks. Go for your favorite pair of jeans that feel the best. Or go full-on pajama party – the kids’ll love that!
– Fun but casual. Don’t overplan your get-togethers. Ask your kids what their favorite activity is and be open to it. I recently taught my son how to play “Connect 4” and we kept playing until bedtime. Pull out arts and crafts and let your child be the master of his own creativity. Time together doesn’t have to be Pinterest-perfect to be fun.
These are just a few ways to embrace hygge this winter. We’d love to hear your favorite comfy winter activity in the comments, and we hope you have a super cozy new year!