Sunday, 8 January 2017

Exploring Hygge - how hygge is your life?

Hygge – (Hoo-gah)

I  was poking about on Pinterest for inspirational quotes to put on my blackboard to celebrate 2017 when I came across this hygge challenge.  I have very little knowledge of hygge so I set about investigating further.  This link to the Danish tourist board has a lovely little short film where the reporter visits Copenhagen to learn more about hygge and the  BBC of course had their own contribution.

It seems to be about chilling out with your friends, being cosy with candle light and snuggly blankets, stepping away from technology and keeping things simple. Embracing the dark nights and finding the light and enjoyment in them.  I tend to find January a bit of a glum month, the weather is uninviting, the days are short and the excitement and fun of Christmas and New Year are fast fading memories. In fact there are some days where I feel like I am sleepwalking around and my mood is low.  The sky is an uninviting shade of grey and there seems to be nothing on the horizon to brighten things up.

So how hygge is my life

  • Candles and fairy lights are present in my home all year round, we have switched to battery operated candles as they are cleaner and safer but they still offer soft ambient lighting.  We had a log burner installed a couple of years ago (this was a step up from the open fire we had put in about 30 years ago when we moved into our home) this scores very highly in creating the hygge vibe.
  • Unplugging from technology, I have got into a bad habit of watching TV with my laptop on my knee or my phone in hand, giving neither my full attention so therefore not being in the moment an important hygge element. So I am trying to be more aware of this and making a choice to do one or the other but not both.
  • I spend quite a lot of my leisure time with my family especially now I am Granny to baby Esme. With Hubby working shifts it can be more tricky to find time for meet ups with friends this an area that I need to make more effort in.
  • Being alone and reading a book - I love reading and for some reason tend to only give time over to it when I go on my summer holiday. I treated myself to a book in the January sales, "The year of living Danishly" by Helen Russell in pursuit of learning more about hygge and seeing it in context of the Danish lifestyle. Helen and her husband move to Denmark for a year when he gets a job at Lego HQ, in the book she investigates various aspects of Danish life and queries if these pursuits and cultural references make them the happiest nation.  I am making time to read a chapter a day with a cup of tea and the TV turned off. 
  • Living in the moment, to some extent this is something that we all do and don't even think about.  However, I am very much a planner and sometimes I don't give myself over to an experience as I am already calculating how to do things better next time.   I will try and be aware of this and make more of an effort to go with the flow and immerse myself in the moment.
  • Connecting with nature - I alway feel a bit brighter after a walk, mother nature usually has something to show us we just need to take the time to look for it. Not to mention that walking helps to burn off some of those Christmas calories! But given a choice reading a book curled up on the sofa is going to be the first choice on a grim winter day, I think a bit more effort is needed from me in this area.

My conclusion is that I already have some hygge in my life and there is room for more and that can't be a bad thing if hygge encompasses feelings of wellbeing.

When I have been trying to learn more about hygge I am a little bit disappointed that it has been hijacked as an opportunity to sell cushions, throws and all manner of other things!  I think hygge is something you feel and not something you buy.

Now it is over to you, how hygge is your lifestyle?  Do you agree with my interpretation or have I got it all wrong? What do you do to beat the January blues?

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