21 Ways Hygge Will Help You Survive Winter

21 Ways Hygge Will Help You Survive Winter

How to survive winter? Well, if you live where winter brings darkness and cold harsh weather, you probably just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head for the next four months. Am I right? What if I were to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.

That in some countries, winter is embraced and celebrated, with candles, coziness, firelight, and friendship.  Where people just come together and share a meal, or settle indoors with a big chunky blanket, a cup of tea and a really good book.  Sounds great right?  Well it’s real.

There really is a way for all of us to survive winter with joy, mindfulness and creativity.  The concept is Hygge, a way to bring coziness and happiness into your life every day.  I’ve got a list of 21 ways to feel happy in winter – from big cozy sweater, and hot buttered drinks by the fire, to a family game day.  What about Random Acts of Kindness?  Or visiting shut-ins during the holidays.  We’ll show you many creative ways, for little or no cost, to find joy and embrace the challenges that winter brings.  Sound like fun?  I thought you would like this.

We’ve also curated a lovely little shop of Hygge gifts and you can check it out below!

WHY HYGGE?

Once we get past Thanksgiving (October in Canada and late November in the United States) well, the days are definitely shorter.  I get up in the dark and come home in the dark.  Ugh.  At this time of year people fall into two categories: The “I hate winter” group or the “How to survive winter” category!

Even our dogs get confused.  Now I’m not sure a mini schnauzer and a wheaten terrier understand the benefits of Hygge and Coziness, but I’m pretty sure they’ve picked up on the fact that I’m really ok with winter these days, and actually enjoy the cold, the exercise, and the coziness with my chunky knit blanket, beautiful fat white candles, a great book, and quiet time for snoozing.

If you are enjoying this post, we’ve written extensively about Hygge.  While typically enjoyed during the winter, the Danish, you can live Hygge all year long.  You can Live Hygge in Spring and summer hygge has so many possibilities!

Hygge falls into so many categories too, like self-care, personal development, mindfulness, simplicity, home decor, and my favourite – happiness.  Yep, plain old happiness.  What could be better?

HOW TO SURVIVE WINTER WITH HYGGE FAQs

What is Hygge living?

Hygge living does not require you to buy anything, change your lifestyle or diet.  Hygge life is all feelings.  Like those feelings you get when visiting a dear friend you haven’t seen in a long time.  That feeling you get when remembering a happy childhood memory.  It’s listening to your child share their excitement about snow, tobogganing or Christmas.

What is Danish Hygge?

Hygge is often stated as the “Danish art of happiness” and The Little Book of Hygge describes the concept in detail. The Danes believe that Hygge is about togetherness, comfort and the experience itself, of being together or enjoying comfort and coziness on your own.

How can I survive winter?

Surviving winter is no joke.  And we’re not talking about winter camping here – but then again that might be kind of fun!  And there are fun ways to winter camp!  I would suggest that getting through winter, surviving the short days, cold weather, and general annoyances that go with the season, is about adjusting your mindset.  Using Hygge in winter opens up many opportunities to embrace the challenges that winter will throw at you.  We’ve listed twenty-one, but before we get to that, go light some lovely candles, set up some soft music, make a cup of tea and relax.  We’re going to help you plan your Hygge Winter activities.

Is Denmark dark in the winter?

Danish winters are cold and dark, with days that appear to be much shorter than we have in North America.  Sunrise is typically around 9 a.m. with sunset at 4 p.m.  Even on our shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st, in Canada and the Northern United States, a typical sunrise starts at 7:30 and the day darkens by 4:30 ish.

Which is why Hygge is comforting, and helps the Danes deal not only with the cold and darkness, but often the depression that people can suffer as a result.

LOOKING FOR HYGGE GIFTS?

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We’ve curated a delightful shopping store full of Hygge gifts, candles, books and chunky blankets.  Just click the link.

21 WAYS TO FEEL HAPPY IN WINTER

So, how to get through winter?  Here is our list of ways that we think are cozy, fun, and definitely cheerful!  We’ve even got a free printable Hygge Planner for you to download so that you incorporate some of these events into your life over the next few months!

Cozy up your home – Fat white candles, chunky knitted throws, essential oils, soft pillows, it’s all about creating coziness for you and your family.

Random acts of kindness – During the holidays there are so many that are not as fortunate as you and I are.  Our daughter actually gathers friends and for one night, travels around the city, giving out small gift cards, fresh flowers, and tiny boxes of chocolates.  You can make this whatever you want, maybe even create an annual event.

Visits to shut ins – Winter means ice and snow, and our elders who may be in assisted living aren’t able to get out and walk.  Their families also may live far away.  If you have a bit of time every week, even 30 minutes, a visit to your neighborhood retirement home will be gratefully received.

Get outdoors –  One of the biggest challenges that winter presents is the lack of sunlight, and many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD?  Just a few minutes of daylight per day will chase the winter blues away.  Get up from your desk and go for a walk at lunchtime.  It really makes a difference!

Weekend retreats – This could be something as simple as visiting your folks for the weekend, and that will cheer them up too!  Or if you are able to check in to a country inn, or hotel in the next town, maybe where there is a winter festival happening.  I found that there are tons of coupons available on these types of weekend getaways too.

Family game day – This is one of our favourites!  Put down the smart phones and mobile devices and get out the board games, card decks and checker boards!  Having a tournament with small prizes adds extra fun and excitement.

Family dinners – Sundays were traditionally the day for family dinner, but we are all just so busy these days.  Call up your family and/or friends and talk about a theme – maybe a vegan dinner, or all appetizers?  You can personalize this any way you like and send out fun invitations.

Host a potluck – No time to cook?  No problem?  Create an easy menu that family and friends can contribute to, pick a date, clean up the house and be the hostess or host with the most!  This is a great idea, especially after you’ve just decorated the house for the holidays, or there has been a really long spell of bad weather.  Everyone has cabin fever!  What about a Caribbean theme?

Try a new drink (cocktails by the fire) – After a day of tobogganing or skating at city hall, be sure to have all the fixing for that new drink you just read about online. Oh, and we don’t let a little detail like not having a fireplace stop us from enjoying a fire.  You can ‘stream’ a crackling fire on YouTube or from your local cable company any ole time!

New recipes – When they’re forecasting snow all weekend long?  No problem.  Pull out your slow cooker or pressure cooker and try out some new recipes!  We’ve got lots for you to choose from.  Being forced to stay indoors by the weather, just means you have lots of time to experiment and have a yummy experience as a result!

three white candles wrapped in jute on a wooden tray with lavender sprigs how to survive winter

Cozy clothes – The concept of Hygge is all about cozy, and that means big bulky sweaters, fun leggings, and my favourite – reading socks!

Hygge Home Decor – When we think about creating a cozy home it’s about big soft pillows, fat white candles, blankets, aromatherapy, soft lighting.  Make your bedroom a Hygge Retreat by including some of these delightful items.

Knitted afghans – You know those afghan blankets that people knit with their arms?  I think they are amazing, and look so soft and cozy, I might not want to leave that blanket for a whole day.  🙂

Learn to knit or crochet a scarf – So to follow my thoughts about those chunky arm knitted blankets, why not learn to make one yourself?  I can’t think of anything easier, and there are tons of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube and the web.

Make a hygge playlist – Create your own, or you can actually choose a Hygge playlist with Nordic music on Apple or Spotify!  Relaxed gentle music, soft jazz, depending on your mood.  Or something bright and sparkly!

Cozy movie list – Ask your friends for recommendations, but chances are Netflix or Crave have you covered.  Like the Hallmark Christmas movies that play this time of year, there really is a tremendous choice out there.  We love cooking shows, dramas, and stories about overcoming adversity – you know when the underdog character wins the day?  Now that’s uplifting.

Hot drinks – Cocktails might not be your thing, but that’s no problem! Hot mulled wine, Spiced Apple Cider, Exquisite Teas – maybe Chai? All add to a cozy – I’m not going outside today – atmosphere.

Candles, mood lighting, fairy lights –Creating your own cozy atmosphere is very important, and applies to your personal space, hosting a potluck, or when you invite some friends over just because.  We love fairy lights, and use them all year round – you know those mini lights you put on your Christmas Tree?  Grab a bunch at your local dollar store and get festive! We’ve also got a neat article about creating your own special place with a  DIY fairy light project.

Unplug from technology – You really have to do this.  I really have to do this.  We are all so connected to our mobile devices and it’s epidemic.  How do we experience intimacy, coziness and happiness while scrolling?  Try to put your phone away for a certain period of time during the day.  Say 30 minutes to start.  Put it in a spot where you have to get up off your chair in order to use it.  Or even better, in another room.

Staycation – Stay at home vacations can be so much fun!  It gives you the opportunity to get out and experience your community, local festivals, and just enjoy the warmth and coziness of your own home!  Appreciate the fact that there is a storm raging outside, and you are inside, in your lovely home, snug as a bug.

Practice mindfulness – what does this mean? As much as possible stay in the moment.  Listen to what your friend is telling you and look into their eyes while they are talking.  Stop the hamster wheel in your head that is going over the huge list of things to do.  Appreciate how the snow feels on your face, the warmth of a winter sun, the smell of your grandchild while they sleep in your arms.  How does the book you are reading make you feel?  Try journaling to capture those special moments throughout your week.  Have you tried Morning Pages?

At the end of this post, please download your very own Hygge Planner.  I’d love to hear about the things that resonate with you, and if you have tried any.

xo, Judy

30 Simple Ways You Can Live Hygge All Year Long!

30 Simple Ways You Can Live Hygge All Year Long!

What is Hygge Life?  Or how to live Hygge?  Well you might say it’s how to live mindfully, simply and to savour the happiness that this way of life brings.  If you are searching for some tranquility, a sense of calmness to the hectic pace of your everyday life, then I hope you will stick around.  We’ve got some great ideas to help you embrace Hygge and be cozy. (more…)

Feeling Overwhelmed? 7 Self-Care Tips To Help You

Feeling Overwhelmed? 7 Self-Care Tips To Help You

When you're feeling overwhelmed and your 'TO DO LIST' makes you want to lie down, these 7 ideas will help you find the balance you are needing. Take time for Self Care.* post may contain affiliate links – what does that mean?

When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed –  7 Ways To Help You Find Balance 

Does your “To Do” List make you want to lie down?

You just don’t know how to get through it all.  No wonder.  We are nation of overwhelmed people.  Social media and the evening news hit us at every turn.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, everything is off.  Relationships with family, your spouse, co-workers.

My favorite part of the nightly news is the Happy Story they leave until the end.  You know the one that shows courage, determination, or someone just did a really nice thing?  I wonder why they don’t start the news with that?

But I digress.

Just know you are not alone.

Do I feel overwhelmed at times? Of course.  I think everyone does.

Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed about the new job?

Or looking after your parents?  Am I spending enough time with my kids?

Yes I know.

When you're feeling overwhelmed and your 'TO DO LIST' makes you want to lie down, these 7 ideas will help you find the balance you are needing. Take time for Self Care.

This list provides tools to help!

  • Please don’t expect to do all of these things.
  • That in itself would be overwhelming.  Pick two.
  • Two things that you can easily fit into your life right now.  Just two things that really resonate with you.

Let it go.

Please. There are things in this life that we can control, but so many we can’t.  Pick your battles.  Is it really worth it to stand on principle? Or is this the one time you compromise?  This can apply both to our work lives and at home.  And it’s also closely related to our striving for perfection so…..

Nobody’s Perfect

We are so hard on ourselves. Always striving to be the best we can be.  And that’s good! But trying to be perfect is exhausting.   We. Are. Human. Beings.  Prone to making mistakes, because that’s how we learn! Create an environment around you where others feel safe to share their mistakes and how they have learned from them.  You will be amazed at how relieved you feel when you say goodbye to perfection.  You will probably stand up straighter as a result.

Journaling

Writing meditation or journaling daily for 5 minutes    Writing in a journal, sort of free flow writing for 5 to 10 minutes every morning is a great strategy (IMHO) to clear the mind of clutter.  A brain dump if you will.  Even getting up a few extra minutes early to have your tea or coffee and journaling in a pretty notebook is so calming, almost like meditation.  Journalling has become very mainstream, there are journals for health, journals for weight loss, journals to overcome stress, bullet journals (they’re fun!) just about every combination.  We’ll be talking more about journalling on the blog in the weeks and months to come.  I think it’s that important.   I first heard about it in a book by Julia Cameron, called The Artist’s Way.  It’s an interesting read and you can get it through this link.  Journaling has gotten me through some very challenging times in my life.  I’m happy to say I’ve been meditating through my writing for many, many years!

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Sleep on it

Use the 24 hour rule! – This is my absolute favorite strategy. When I am facing a problem, either at work or a disagreement with my spouse, giving it 24 hours to settle, to think about it in your mind, come up with solutions or compromise is the best.  Resisting the need to rush to be right, to get something to go YOUR way, may not remove the overwhelming feelings you are experiencing.  One day.  24 hours.  It really isn’t a very long time.  If you manage people, I’ll bet you already have this tool in your toolkit.

Have Fun

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s really hard to think about fun, right?  But please make it a priority.  Are you having any fun?  This is a difficult one for me.  I work full time at a desk job, and my passion, this blog, is my Side Hustle.  So you get where I’m going right?  If you are in a stressful job at work, have children or elder care responsibilities, debt, or any one of the many stresses that we juggle in our daily lives, chances are you aren’t getting any.  Fun, that is.  And fun doesn’t need to cost anything!  A visit to the local park, checking out the Community Calendar where you live, the local library, join a community sports team and meet new people!  I know some folks who think decluttering their home and cleaning are great fun! (Not me, rest assured) When I’m overwhelmed and stressed I bake pies.  Explore the walking trail in your neighborhood and see where it goes?  Have you tried Geocaching?

And then there is Hygge.  You know, Hygge? (Hue-gah) The Danish term that really doesn’t translate directly in English, but means happiness.  Finding happiness, being mindful.  You can read more about it and discover 30 Simple Ways to get your Hygge on! 

 Eating, exercise, sleep

These three contribute to my feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, fatigued on a daily basis! We are an inert, java addicted, sleep deprived nation! Well I am for sure.  You too?  If you work at a desk or workstation all day, and the go home and drop on the sofa to surf the net, have a Netflix marathon, or scroll your phone, chances are your body is screaming for a little exercise.  If I didn’t have two dogs who count on me to get them out for a walk every evening, I wouldn’t either.  But here’s the thing.  Our bodies weren’t made to sit 12 to 16 hours a day!  So what about stretching as soon as you get home, before you sit down and pick up the phone or laptop.  We have a stretching activity at work every day.  Folks gather for 15 minutes and do stretches.  A colleague of mine has a set of hand weights she keeps by the television, and uses them during commercials.  A ball chair – you know the ones with the exercise ball in them?  I use that when I’m journaling in the morning with my cup of coffee.  Helps strengthen the core, sit up straight too.  All kinds of good benefits!

Unplug

Step away and breathe, find silence in the noise.   Okay, so we’ve touched on this above, but for sure there needs to be down time, off the devices.  Having a buffer between screen activity and sleep is the best thing you can do.  But more importantly, turning off the noise lets us get back in touch with ourselves, our thoughts, and our loved ones.  Some simple things to try is to make meal times a “device free zone”.   Giving yourself 30 minutes to decompress before bed every evening really does help.  Try it for a week and let me know if it makes difference!

Start right now

So pick two things and only two.

Try them out for 30 days.

Give yourself the gift of that time to see if it makes a difference.

I’m pretty sure it will.

Be kind to yourself.

woman on hammock with words be kind to yourself

This is the first post in a new category “Lifestyle”.  We’re just going to talk about life.  All of it.  Sometimes life is messy, and sometimes it is just so amazing you can’t contain yourself!

I hope you are having an amazing day.  Feel free to share this post with your friends too!

Or on Pinterest!

These 30 Bullet Journal Ideas Will Help You Simplify Your Life!

These 30 Bullet Journal Ideas Will Help You Simplify Your Life!

collection of free downloads bullet journal 101 guide front page, workbooks, checklists

Want to Bullet Journal But Don’t Know

how to get Started?

I’ve got your back. 

It’s all right here in this 30+ page ebook!

Take control of life by not only creating an effective schedule, but building goals & dreams!

  • Bullet Journaling 101 covers everything you will need to get you started:
  • The Setup & Supplies
  • Daily, Weekly, Monthly Spreads
  • Discover the joy of doodling, coloring and creating beautiful BUJO pages!

 

Hi there!

I’ll bet you’ve been looking at all those Instagram posts of beautiful bullet journal images.

You know, bullet journals?

With all the pretty flowers, stars, and scrolls?

Those people must spend hours and hours writing and all that calligraphy too!

Nobody’s got time for that right?

(more…)