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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

Hygge your way to a better life

In other ways, take a mini ‘you’ break – you deserve it and so do those that love and depend on you.

You choose - as long as it makes you feel cozy & content!

I first heard the word hygge when I was in Denmark in my mid 20’s. Yes – that’s a long time ago! But oddly it has always stayed in my mind. In fact about 10 years ago I messaged my former sister-in-law Lena to ask her what that Danish word was she used to describe this wonderful warm, loving night we enjoyed in Copenhagen back in the early 80’s. Yes, you heard me, early 80’s. I remembered it as “huegele”…close but not exact. Now, many years later, the word keeps popping up & I smugly think – oh yeah, I’ve known about that forever. And believe me, I’m never ahead of the curve!! (p.s. it’s pronounced “hue-guh” and you have to lengthen the U) There were a group of us gathered around a table; some spoke English, some Danish, a couple spoke German but it was an evening where we all felt a sense of belonging. That’s probably why I remember it to this day!

Hygge doesn’t really translate – but could be described as “A feeling of being loved and nurtured, or coziness and contentment”. It can be with a group of people or you can be alone. When alone it’s a moment of conscious slowing down and being in the moment. The intention is important; not just vegging on the couch but taking a moment to recharge in your busy day.

How do you incorporate it? Create a cozy, quiet and nurturing environment, even if it’s one tiny corner of your home. When my four children were young, life was always crazy, and my house was a chaotic disaster zone. One thing I insisted on was that my bedroom be (relatively) tidy and organized. I could wrangle the kids into bed, sometimes ignore the mess in the kitchen and go into my room with a book. When I closed the door, it was my version of Hygge.

Of course times have changed and my life is very different now, but today was unusually hectic. This was due to the fact that 3 of the grandkids are with us for a couple of days. I dropped them to school, had a 2 hour meeting, ran some errands and hit my home office to try for a couple of hours of work before school pickup. I found I was jittery and grinding my teeth, and just not being productive at all. I realized that I’d missed my newish habit of 5 minutes of meditation/visualization that I’ve been starting my day with. So I moved over to my side chair, closed my eyes and made it happen. Some deep breathing, relaxed my jaw and visualized how I’d utilize the next hour or so. It really worked – and now I have a name for it!

Do you practice Hygge? What’s your strategy when you only have a few minutes but need to recharge? Herbal Tea, lighting a candle, your coziest robe & slippers…? Maybe close your eyes and visualize how tomorrow is going to be less of a shit-show and more of what you envision. Remember when we see it and believe we attract it. True story.

There are a variety of benefits tied to this practice, including better emotional health, improved sleep and weight regulation and even an increase in social connections. Read more here and I'm betting you'll want to start incorporating Hygge into you day. Let me know how it goes!

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