The approach of the Winter Solstice is a time that, evolutionarily, mammals (including humans) naturally want to go inward (as in hibernation). In our culture, this natural tendency is at odds with the busyness of the holidays and year end. We often resist the colder temperatures and shorter days by contracting our energy, which can leave us feeling down in the dumps.
Alternatively, we can cultivate a wintertime practice (or concept) called Hygge (pronounced Hughga).
Hygge refers to winter season lifestyle practices that originated in Scandinavian countries and cultivate a quality of coziness and comfort that can create and nurture feelings of contentment or well-being.
The origins of the word are related to the word hug or “to embrace,” and from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being.”
Hygge was created in these Nordic countries as a way to survive boredom of long, cold, dark days. The feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate and lift ones spirit with simple daily rituals. Here are just a few examples:
- lighting candles or a fire in the fireplace or wood stove
- cuddling up in a warm blanket and enjoying a favorite warm beverage in a favorite mug
- picking up some fresh flowers to have in your home
- Cooking a hearty soup or stew to share with others
- Unplugging: engagement in reading, board or card games or a creative project
- Taking time to slow down and rest
- Building a fire pit
- Lighting outdoor lanterns
- Bundling up for a winter walk, hike or winter sport
- Building snow sculptures
“Relax. Just for a little while. It is about experiencing happiness in simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be okay.” ― Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living