As temperatures plummet, many of us can be feeling low around this time of year. With darker, shorter evenings, cold mornings and having to wear more and more layers, many of us bemoan the lack of opportunities to catch some rays and long for the summer months. On a more extreme scale, the colder weather can even contribute to feelings of depression. This is because the lack of sunlight causes hormonal changes in the body, which increases levels of melatonin, resulting in lethargy and low mood1. But fortunately there are methods of combatting this and one of them comes from Denmark – a country known for its long and dark winters and yes hygge can help those moods.
You may have heard of hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) – that Danish lifestyle practise that has become a bit of a trendy buzzword in recent years. What it actually means is a little more complex. Derived from a Norwegian word for “well-being” the concept can be loosely translated as ‘cosiness’ but it’s slightly more than that. It’s not just cranking up the heating and enjoying a lie in on a Sunday. It’s about embracing the winter through a conscious effort to create a cosy environment and enjoy the simple things in life.
There are ways to add hygge-like activities into your day-to-day life. For example, you can create a hyggekrog, which is a kind of cosy nook somewhere in your home — for example, an armchair by the window replete with blankets, where you can sit and read as the snow falls outside (while your phone is switched off of course!).
It’s not just quietly spending time by yourself either. The practise of hygge can help your loved ones too, by going for long walks with loved ones or cooking for family and friends (in a slow-paced, non-stressful environment). Lighting scented candles and allowing yourself that extra slice of cake are smaller, simple ways to add some hygge elements into your daily routine.
While 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for everyone, here’s to a happier and hygge-ful winter ahead!