At the end of each year, the Oxford Dictionary determines the “word of the year”, and while phrases like “Twilight Zone” and “Is This Really Happening?” may have summarized recent history for many, the peaceful word “Hygge” won the title for 2017.
The word emanates warmth, sings of recharging one’s soul, and could just change your life.
Hygge, pronounced “Hug-uh”, doesn’t have an exact English translation. Consider it the Scandinavian lovechild of well-being and coziness. The Danish don’t consider it a word as much as they consider it a lifestyle. In Denmark, self-care isn’t considered a luxury, but a personal right and responsibility. It is largely credited with the overall attitude of the country, and the people of Denmark have made an art of being joyful.
It may seem impossible to reach the state of comfort the Danish have perfected, but there are definitely ways to bring hygge into your home. It can be as small as a favorite coffee cup or a warm pair of slippers! While ilumin’s main concern is our patient’s vision, your overall health and happiness matter to us! That’s why we’ve put together a few ideas to make the rest of your winter a little more… Scandinavian.
Blankies Aren’t Just for Babies
Find a fuzzy throw, your grandmother’s quilt, or a favorite afghan your aunt knitted for you. Put on your oldest sweatpants and a beaten up t-shirt and wrap yourself in softness.
Light, it Up
String lights over your dining room table, near your reading chair, or through your living room to create a soft glow. Light candles and leave them in your window, alerting passersby that warmth lives here. What you see affects how you feel.
While social media is excellent for making us feel connected to loved ones, occasionally we need to turn off the phone and connect with ourselves. Additionally, the screens on your television, computer, and cell phone are blue-based lights. This can contribute to sleeplessness, fatigue, and other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Give your eyes a break and enjoy a quiet evening away from the online world.
Use All Five Senses
Notice how the freshly fallen snow turns the volume down on everything outside. Appreciate the warmer flavors of winter; nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom. Watch out your window as the snow falls. Feel the warmth from inside as you come in from the cold, the way your home seems to invade your body to evict the chill. Enjoy the rich smells of freshly baked bread, simmering stews, and warm cookies.
Keep a variety of flavors on hand, and sip slowly. Orange spice, lavender, and peppermint are a hug in a cup, and will warm each of your senses. Sip slowly. Enjoying the time it takes to drink hot tea is a prime principle of hygge.
Skip the Shower
No, we’re not suggesting that you endure body odor or dirty hair, only suggesting that now and then, you opt for a long, candle-lit bath. Add a few drops of essential oils, orange peels, or a cup of Epsom salts, and let your body unwind. No books, no smart phones. Don’t distract yourself from the moment. Just enjoy the water, the bubbles, and the soft glow.
Share Your Home
Invite loved ones over for a lingering meal. Moments like these activate the amygdala, creating a memory tied to the sounds of your friends talking around the table, the smell of the meal, the sight of their smiles. All it will take is the scent of rosemary chicken to reactivate the memory in your brain, giving you a dose of hygge when loved ones are far away.
Grab your child, your partner, or your puppy and nestle in for a movie together. The act of embracing lowers your blood pressure, eases stress, and deepens your bond.
Take a Picture
When you realize something is invoking hygge within you, snap up the moment. If the sight of a smile, a sunset, or just a beautiful meal brings you peace, take a photo and print it. Having the photo on hand creates a more kinesthetic connection. Having pictures of those you love nearby where you can touch them brings those we can’t hug just a few degrees closer.
While Seasonal Affective Disorder, stress, and daily frustrations sometimes seem unavoidable, choosing hygge means choosing happiness. We would love for you to share with our readers how you create a hygge haven in your home! Leave us a comment on Facebook and teach us how to hygge!