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What if I told you that those winter blues could be remedied by this one weird little word???
And there’s no catch…nothing to buy…no gadget, drug, or supplement.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Approximately 4-6% of the U.S. population suffers from what has come to be known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, with an addition 10-20% who may experience milder cases of SAD.
According to familydoctor.org, the majority of cases are found in the Northernmost portion of the United States. This is attributed to the harsher winters and further placement from the equator.
That all sounds pretty kosher, right?
Well, here’s some more data for you.
This is a snapshot of the top-ranked happiest countries in the world from the 2015 World Happiness Report.
These are the four HAPPIEST PLACES ON EARTH.
And do you know what these four countries have in common?
Well, in case you are a little rusty on your world geography, let me tell you.
Every single one of these countries is FURTHER NORTH than any point in the United States, They also have LONGER, HARSHER WINTERS and SHORTER AMOUNTS OF DAYLIGHT with a sunrise around 9 A.M. and sunset around 4 P.M. in the winter months.
As a super chilly cherry on top, some parts of these “happiest” countries also have an atrocity called, “Polar Night” where the darkness lasts for more than 24 hours!
So what the heck gives?
Why are these countries consistently happier than the rest regardless of being plagued with the things that are attributed to causing Seasonal Affective Disorder here in the U.S.?
I’ll tell you why…hygge.
Hygge, pronounced “HUE-geh,” has no direct English translation, but coziness comes the closest.
It can be used as pretty much any part of speech and is basically the act of enjoying the good things in life with good people.
Hygge is associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude. You know…those things that Americans are reeaaallllllllly bad at making time for.
Thomsen Brits, author of The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort & Connection, calls it “a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of a very real life.”
If you’ve been around loveYOUmore for very long, you probably realize just how fitting that is with our mindset.
Hygge is that magical “cup-filling” concept that I’m always talking about.
It’s self-care in its purest form.
It’s the savoring of the seemingly small things that come together to form a happy life.
In Denmark, doctors actually prescribe “hygge & tea” for the common cold, which is pretty much the best prescription I’ve ever heard of.
With that in mind, I thought hygge would be an interesting “prescription” for those who deal with the winter blues.
So here’s your RX:
1. GET COMFY.
Want to know more about the hygge life? Step one is to get cozy. That means find the clothes that make you feel the best. I love when I start to feel a chill in the air because that means pumpkin everything, boots, and cozy layers.
Here’s some hygge-spiration:
- Big sweaters & cardigans, like this one.
- Comfy pants or “hyggebuksers,” like these, which are my absolute favorite!
- Wooly socks, like these.
Whatever it is that gives you that feeling of coziness…that hygge…that’s what you put on.
2. GET COZY.
Grab a really nice blanket. You know the one I’m talking about…It’s the one you reach for when you’re ready to take a long afternoon nap. This is the one I use. You can also grab your favorite person because favorite people are totally hygge.
3. GET LIT.
Start a warm fire and let it feed your soul.
We’ve had a fireplace for about 6 years now and I never want to move to a house without one again. Sitting in a cozy room with a warm drink in hand while watching the flames…There’s just something magical…something so hygge about it.
Now, you may not have a fireplace in your home, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Gather some of your favorite candles and create some hygge-ness that way.
It is more than just the feeling of the radiant heat. It is the atmosphere that the lighting causes.
With that in mind, try avoiding your overhead lights. Use lamps or sconces or lots of candles to create a similar effect.
4. GRAB A CUPPA.
Now, I’ll be honest, I am NOT an outdoor-in-the-winter kinda gal. But one of my VERY FAVORITE times of year is when the snow is falling and I’m inside, near the fire with a nice cup of hot tea in my hand.
I have a great little collection of cutesy mugs to choose from, and every single one of them makes my life a little more hygge.
So grab your favorite mug, and savor the moment. That’s hygge.
5. GET UNPLUGGED.
Sure, you can experience hygge near technology, by let’s say, sharing a movie with friends and family. But here’s a reminder: If you are tethered to your iPhone, you are DISconnected from your environment.
And our smartphones have the (un)magical way of numbing us to what’s actually happening (read more about that here), so if you want to really get hygge with it, then toss your phone in your desk drawer and be present in what you are doing.
According to the hygge tradition, gathering with friends and family to enjoy time together is very hygge.
If you are feeling SAD, invite some of your favorite humans for an evening of connection. Bustin’ out the board games and good conversation as a sure-fire way to increase your hygge and your happiness.
7. GET MORE GOODNESS AROUND YOU.
One thing is for sure. You can’t hygge somewhere you hate. That means you need to create some “goodness” around you.
When I first discovered the hygge concept, our house was still recovering from holiday chaos.
I was all like, “Matt, guess what?! I just learned about the coolest thing…”
As I told him of the great hygge tradition, we both looked around the house and laughed.
“This is about the furthest thing from hygge there is.” He said.
Yep, you can’t benefit from hygge in an environment that is too crazy.
So along with all the other things that we’ve talked about, soft lights and cozy clothes, preparing your environment with more “goodness” and less chaos is essential to creating hygge.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to have an HGTV-sized remodeling budget to live a hygge lifestyle. In fact, though they are fun, new things are not necessary at all.
Hygge is more than just great lighting, pretty furnishings, and warm sweaters.
It is the understanding and embracing of the importance of simplicity…the value of slowing down and savoring moments in time.
So, grab a mug and your favorite snuggler. Then sit back and take this prescription to heart.
Want to spread the hygge? Share this article with your friends. 🙂
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