Moms can never seem to relax without feeling guilty about it, so maybe it’s time we took a lesson from the Danish.
The Danish people are a happy people, despite the fact that their weather is very similar to that of my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (a.k.a. Winter-peg). How do the Danes manage to remain so happy despite the long hours of darkness and extreme cold temperatures, while we’re all miserably suffering from seasonal depression over here?
I believe that it has a little something to do with their lifestyle. Specifically, the hygge lifestyle. Learning more about the hygge lifestyle and incorporating it into our own lives can have a lot of benefits, especially for busy moms. It’s not just something that we can practice on the coldest of winter days, but something that we should be mindful of everyday.
Most importantly, embracing a hygge lifestyle can help moms to feel a little less guilty about slowing down and taking care of themselves.
What is Hygge?
Hygge(HOO-ga or HUE-ga) is a Danish word that does not have an exact translation in English. It is used to describe a particular mood or feeling but also to describe the many different ways a person can create this mood and feeling. And that mood and feeling is one of happiness, contentment, peace and warmth.
Hygge is a certain way of living life. It’s about being conscious of your every action and movement. It’s moving slowly and never feeling rushed or pressured to be anywhere or do anything. To live a hygge lifestyle is to focus on the things that make us feel happy and warm on the inside, despite the cold darkness and chaos that’s happening around us.
Similar to creating a self-care sanctuary, it’s important to surround yourself in the proper environment for practicing hygge. While hygge is most popular in the winter months when it’s cold and dreary, it can actually be practiced year round. All you need to create the perfect hygge environment are the right tools.
Candlelight is a cornerstone of hygge culture. The soft, low lighting and irregular flickering of a candle is something that artificial lighting just can’t re-create. Sitting around by candlelight in the winter is sure to inspire a feeling of coziness, warmth and togetherness, maybe even romance. You can even take the mood lighting up a notch by plugging in a color changing diffuser filled with some relaxing essential oils.
Being wrapped up in a blanket provides us with a sense of warmth and security. It’s like channeling the spirit of ancient Vikings wrapped in bear skins as we huddle by the fire. You may not have a spare bear skin lying around but a soft sherpa throw or weighted blanket can do the job.
A Quiet Sitting Place
A comfortable place to hang out is definitely a hygge essential. Whether it’s a couch, bed, comfy chair or cushions on the floor – you’ll want to make sure it’s your favorite place to spend some time. Maybe you already have a designated self-care space, or maybe you have to move some furniture around, but find that one perfect spot in your home that you can escape to.
Comfortable Clothing & Wooly Socks
I’m talking about that one pair of sweatpants that you would never wear out in public. They’re soft and warm and worn in (or worn out). Perhaps the waistband is stretched out or there’s a hole in the crotch from where your thighs rub together, but it doesn’t matter because they are the comfiest pants in the world. Comfort doesn’t always have to mean sacrificing style, either. And socks, you have to get the warmest, coziest socks you can find. Warm feet are the quickest way to feel cozy!
Indulgent Foods & Hot Drinks
Another essential part of the hygge lifestyle is the indulgent, soul warming soups and stews, rich cakes and hot drinks like apple cider, hot chocolate or herbal teas. Normally, these are things saved only for special occasions, which is what makes them so indulgent. Eating foods that remind us of holidays or our childhood can boost our moods as we reminisce on happy times. And don’t worry about the calories, because we’ll need all that extra fat to keep us warm in the winter!
A Hygge Weekend
Adopting a hygge lifestyle everyday is not a practical solution for everyone. But scheduling a hygge weekend can be a great way to practice self care and unwind after a busy week. This is also an activity that can be done with the entire family, with benefits for everyone. So choose a weekend where you don’t have anything else going on and schedule it!
Next, make preparations ahead of time so that you don’t need to worry about a thing:
- Stock up on candles and matches. (Or firewood if you have a wood burning fireplace!)
- Get the ingredients to make a hearty beef stew, indulgent cake and soul warming drinks like coffee, tea, warm cocoa or hot apple cider.
When the weekend comes, get your Hygge on!
- Stay in bed for as long as possible.
- Wear your comfiest clothing, slip on cozy socks or slippers and wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
- Light some candles or a fire in the fireplace.
- And then… do whatever makes you happy. Play board games with the family, watch a movie, read a book or take a nap.
- Don’t worry about phone calls, to-do lists, housework, or even check the clock.
- Use up your cheat days and eat a hearty meal, load up on carbs and indulge in cake and coffee while sitting around the dinner table laughing with your family.
Remember, you’re not being lazy or unproductive – you are embracing the art of hygge. Doing all these things is good for the soul!
The Benefits of Hygge
Hygge encourages us to live with intention and focus on what’s important. Resting our bodies, spending time with loved ones and indulging are all important. Among all of the things that “need to be done” like laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning, we should remember that these things are just as important.
Often, when we take time for ourselves, lounge around in sweatpants or eat cake – we feel a sense of guilt. As if we should be doing something else more productive. But choosing to live a hygge lifestyle gives us permission to do all of those things.
And while we can’t eat cake and wear sweatpants everyday of our lives, we can remember to move a little slower and take in every moment of every day. We can choose to do the things that make us happiest and instead of feeling guilty, we can feel proud. This is the hygge lifestyle.