If you see winter as something to be endured then you might find solace in the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoog-ah)
Despite having to contend with long, bleak winters the Danes embrace winter, and one of the ways they do this is by getting cozy. Winter is seen as a time to slow down and enjoy being at home, reflecting, and spending quality time with friends and loved ones.
You may have noticed that hygge is big right now, and since making Oxford ‘Word of the Year’ shortlist in 2016, it’s making its way around the world. There are plenty of books floating around on the subject but the crux of it is to snuggle up in your fluffy socks and fleece, feeling cozy and content.
Associated with relaxation, indulgence and gratitude, you can experience hygge by simply sipping on a hot chocolate and tucking a warm shawl around your neck. But it’s also about enjoying the things winter has to offer, early nights, blustery walks in your scarf and gloves, rainy Saturdays cooking or sitting by the heater with friends.
I really struggle with cold Canberra days but thank my thoroughly hygge canine Rupert for understanding the joy of a brisk walk with the frost underfoot, contrasted with the complete joy of returning back to the comfort of indoors for a nice nap! Let’s face it, most cats have the hygge concept of cozy, comfort down pat.
Hygge can also be seen as a state of mindfulness, making everyday, mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful, by giving the ordinary a sense of ceremony–lighting candles and baking with spices to fill your home. It can be as simple as sitting around a campfire with friends, playing music or enjoying comfort food. Recognise the opportunities and gifts of the season whatever they are for you. Whether it’s hunkering down with a good book or your journal, or simply feeling thankful for the less frantic pace brought around by shorter days, and colder nights.
Staying connected with loved ones is definitely integral to the concept and what better time for a catch up than a cold dreary day. For those living alone or going through a divorce this can seem like a tall order. But perhaps it could also be an encouragement to reach out and find a community near you, and for the rest of us to reach out to those we know who might need a friend. Leading the busy lives that we do, finding ways to settle into some cozy time alone can also be a reward.
Regardless of how you do it, by changing your mindset to embrace, rather than resist, winter, you too can enjoy this time of year more. And with this mindset, there ‘s no such thing as bad weather – just unsuitable clothes.