Hygge Essentials for the Winter
Whilst I love the very start of a brand new year, I have to say that the rest of January kinda sucks. I’m not a fan of the British grey, cold and damp weather that usually extends right into February and whilst the days are getting lighter it often doesn’t feel that way! For me, the season is really at odds with the pressure we all face to submit to the diet culture and generally be doing all of the things. My body and mind just want to retreat in the winter and going against that has never turned out well in the past. Think illnesses and burnout, it’s not pretty!
Hygge was probably one of the biggest wellness trends of 2016, with my How to Hygge post being one of my most viewed blog posts ever! Even Danish people have commented on the post and said how spot on it is *honoured*. However I think hygge is pretty easy to practice over the autumn and festive period but it’s actually right now and the next few weeks when it can really make a huge difference.
Monday 16th January has officially been declared as ‘Blue Monday’ i.e. the most depressing day of the year. While I think that’s very overhyped and not scientific whatsoever, it does capture the vibe some of us might be feeling.
So how can hygge make a difference and actually make this time of year more enjoyable and healthy? Here are my Hygge Essentials for the New Year:
Do what feels cosy
Thinking of hygge as being cosy might be an over simplification of the term, but it definitely forms part of it’s essence. This season I’m really focusing on doing things that feel cosy and rejecting the things that don’t. A HIIT challenge at the gym might sound like a great way to lose weight but it really doesn’t appeal to me as much as the Yoga with Adriene 31 Day Revolution. A juice cleanse would probably give me more energy but my gentle Wholeheartedly Healthy Challenge that focuses on self care and self love alongside simple habits and is so much more in line with how I’d like to feel – and protects my mental wellbeing too!
Plan some Hygge evenings
One of the most missed parts of Hygge I notice when reading other articles is the social connection. It’s totally normal to want to stay home, but spending time with people (the right people – you don’t want dramas or negative vibes!) will help to lift your mood and support your mental wellbeing. A hyggelit evening might include cooking something together, eating together and watching a movie by candlelight. Sounds like bliss to me!
As I said above, staying in might be wonderful but getting outside, even when it’s freezing can be a brilliant way to lift your mood. Add in some physical activity for even more endorphins! For me I think the trick with knowing when to cosy up inside and when to head out into the great outdoors is the state of the weather. Bright crisp sunny mornings are perfect for a brisk walk wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves where as grey and rainy weather certainly invites you to do the opposite!
Slow Cook and Love Your Carbs
Slow cooking is just a total winter essential for me! It’s super hygge so seek out new recipes that require a long slow cook and that offer you a veggie rich comfort food. Think soups and stews. Don’t ditch the carbs either, yes it might be popular diet approach but you’re body needs those carbs to support your mood. My faves are sweet potatoes, squash, rice, quinoa and lentils.
Plan something to look forward to
One of the things I struggle with is that January and February are pretty ’empty’ months. Planning a hyggelit activity is a great way to give yourself something to look forward to. A new thing I’ve done this year is create a list of mini projects I’d really love to do. It can be easy to get sucked into work and the routine of life, but having a project or hobby outside of that is really great for your mental wellbeing. I’m going to work on one of my projects each month. My list includes: making my own scented candles, making some fermented foods and drink like sauerkraut and water kefir, creating my gallery wall over the sofa and making some more of my natural beauty products from my book Coconut Oil.
Practice gratitude daily
Practising gratitude is something that is great all year round of course, but something about the winter makes it even more important for me. My Desire Map Planner has a section for noting down what you’re grateful for and it really does give me a lift and helps to put things into perspective. It’s great to write them down but even just running through a few things in your mind before you go to sleep is great.
Create a delicious self care routine
One of the things I love so much about Hygge is how the concept interconnects with so many other areas of life. Self care is super hygge – it’s about getting your needs met and what’s more cosy than that! Now is a great time to review your self care routine and make adjustments to suit the season. That might be conciously slowing down, taking more long baths, having a spa day, creating a reading list or ditching toxic friendships.
If you’d like some help creating your new self care routine you can grab my brand new free Ultimate Self Care Kit below!
How do you feel about the winter months? Do you think hygge could help you enjoy this time of year more?
Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living.
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