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How to Hygge - 8 Tips to Try this Winter

Posted by David Wall on
Cozy scene epitomizing 'Hygge'.
  1. Surround yourself with friends and family

    (Coronavirus restrictions permitting!). When things get back to normal start a new tradition with friends or family. For example, you could have a monthly board games or cards night. Many people have enjoyed online quizzes during lockdown so when we are permitted you could organise a regular quiz night with friends, maybe taking turns to host it. Just do something that will bring you and your friends or family closer together and create memories.

  2. Enjoy the simple pleasures

    A luxury hot chocolate, staying in bed late on a weekend, the homely reassurance of a soft sweater or scarf, a favorite movie, some fresh flowers, talking to a friend. Another simple pleasure is connecting with nature. When we are close to nature we tend not to be so engrossed in technology and are usually in a more mindful and relaxed state. Why not go out into your garden, yard or balcony and have 5 minutes in nature? In his book ‘Feel Better in 5’, Dr Chatterjee advocates spending 5 minutes staring at the trees, listening to the birds, watching branches move in the wind, enjoying the experience. If you do this in the morning, the exposure to natural daylight can help to get your natural rhythms in sync and even help you sleep better.

  3. Create a cozy atmosphere

    Create a 'Hygge' atmosphere with candles or twinkly lights, soft rugs, cushions and comfortable clothes. You could even create a Hygge corner - a space in your house that feels like the perfect little cozy nook. Think cushions, blankets, low lighting and anything else that makes it feel homely. Use it for reading, journaling or meditating.

    Lighting a candle.

    In ‘the little book of Hygge’, Meik Wiking recommends making an Emergency Hygge Kit for those times ‘when you are low on energy, have no plans, don’t feel like going out and are in the mood for some quality time alone’. The kit consists of some or all of the following:

    • Candles
    • Some good quality chocolate
    • Your favorite tea
    • Your favorite book
    • Your favorite DVD
    • Some delicious jelly
    • A good pair of woollen socks
    • Favorite letters
    • A warm sweater
    • A notebook
    • A nice blanket
    • Paper and a pen
    • Music
    • A photo album
  4. Enjoy some comfort food

    Try winter soups or casseroles, apple pie with custard or Boston Cream Pie. Get some comfort food ideas from this Nigella Lawson video on YouTube where she cooks the perfect mashed potato, salmon fish cakes, risotto, vegetable and halloumi bake, chicken soup with dumplings and the ultimate comfort food – chocolate fudge cake!

  5. Be present and thankful

    Appreciate your surroundings, eat together with the family at least once a day and maybe try keeping a gratitude journal.

    • What is Gratitude Journaling?

      ‘Gratitude journaling is the habit of recording and reflecting on things (typically three) that you are grateful for on a regular basis. In essence, you are rewiring your brain to focus more on the positive aspects of your life and build up resilience against negative situations. Keeping a gratitude journal is a popular practice in positive psychology - the scientific study of happiness. It’s commonly also referred to as counting your blessings or three good things.’ For more info take a look at the full article from the Happy Feed App.

    • How to keep a Gratitude Journal

      1. The following are some tips to try taken from the Happy Feed article mentioned above:

      2. Enjoy the little things – Be specific - writing ‘amazing friends’ may miss the detail of an enjoyable experience compared to ‘Amy stopped by this afternoon with iced tea and cookies.’

      3. Avoid repetition - Ok, your significant other really is amazing, but you don’t want their name to be the only thing in your journal. Mix it up with different areas of your life, e.g. work, relationships, or health. This can keep the practice fresh and extend the effectiveness of gratitude journaling.

      4. Mention specific people and places - Along the lines of avoiding repetition, citing specific people and places will help prevent your posts from feeling stale. You’ll also be learning more about who and what affects your happiness.

      5. Don’t sweat the bad days - Everyone has awful days where nothing goes your way. Gratitude journaling can be most important on the most difficult days - try to push aside the negativity and go simple (‘my mom’ or ‘tacos at lunch’).

      6. Flex your ‘writer’ muscles - Have some fun with your posts! Throw in some extra adjectives, try to describe the way the fall air tasted, and explore details you normally wouldn’t. It’s rare to find opportunities to write, and what could be better than your private journal?

      7. Make it a habit - It’s generally suggested that you try writing in a gratitude journal at night before bed. Setting a reminder or pairing it with another habit (eg. brushing your teeth) will make it easier to be consistent.

      8. Mention surprises - Not every day will have these, but reflecting on surprises is a useful way to avoid repetition and really savor your best days.

  6. Take up a new hobby

    Take up a new hobby – if you’ve never been a keen reader why not pick up a book and see what you’re missing – there are a whole bunch of recommendation lists out there. Try the Barnes & Noble best books of the year list for some inspiration. They have recommendations in lots of subjects and themes including: Best fiction, mysteries and thrillers, Science fiction and fantasy, romance, classics and criticism, poetry, biographies, cookbooks, art and design, current affairs, health and wellness, history, home and garden, humor, movies and TV, Music, nature and wildlife, religion, puzzles and games, travel, theatre and Sports. Phew! There is certainly something for everyone!

    Young woman reading a book on a sofa.

    Or try something creative like knitting or sewing, drawing or painting, cooking or baking. Or some form of exercise like Organised Walks in your local area. If the weather is unsuitable try some yoga at home, there are lots of online tutorials - branch out and try something new.

  7. Try not to stress – embrace mindfulness

    Practicing simple techniques and exercises can help you improve mental clarity and curb anxiety. Below are a couple of exercises which are suggested in an article on mindfulness in Good Housekeeping Magazine - Mindfulness Activities to Reduce Stress and Increase Calm.

    • Candle Study Exercise

      Light your favorite candle, sit comfortably, and watch the flame sway and flicker. Gaze at a candle for five to 10 minutes and let your mind wander. Observe your thoughts. Let them pass without judgement.

    • The Name Game

      This game is simpler than Eye Spy and yet it can be a powerful tool to curb spiralling thoughts. First, look around you and name three things you can hear, then two things you can see, and finally one sensation that you feel.

  8. Self-care

    You need to do a little bit of planning to ensure that you are taking care of yourself - Having something to look forward to at the end of the day can make the rest of the day more bearable. Knowing that you have set aside time for yourself can give you motivation to finish the day feeling great. Give yourself permission to spend some time on you. This may be having a relaxing bath, reading for an hour, chatting to a friend - whatever sounds like a fun, relaxing break from obligation to you, do that.

    Maybe try some Self-soothing techniques – there are lots of interesting ideas on Pinterest.

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