Great Danes: Beat the Fall Blues With These Tips From ‘The Little Book of Hygge’
As the nights start to close in around us, the arrival of fall can feel like a stark dose of reality after a long, heady summer. Even the cheeriest among us can struggle to maintain a positive outlook while stumbling through clouds of de-icer on the way to work.
The return of shorter days and a swift drop in temperature after months of balmy nights, boozy picnics, and budget beach holidays are unwelcome reminders that the winter we hoped to keep at bay just a little longer is well and truly on its way. As dead leaves cluster at our booted feet and frost lingers on the remains of the grass, few would turn down the chance to bury their heads and hibernate hedgehog-like until spring.
If you’re suffering from a bout of fall blues — and let’s face it, who isn’t? — then perhaps it’s time to look to Denmark for inspiration. Despite long winters at sub-zero temperatures, the Danes are famous for their happy and contented dispositions. In fact, many studies cite the Danes as being the happiest population in the world. So, what’s their secret? How do they cope with the mind-numbing cold, the days more reminiscent of nights and scant hope of natural light or warmth for many months to come?
That secret is Hygge: a concept of coziness and wellbeing central to Danish life. In today’s post we’re going to take a look at The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking and see what tips this concept—so central to Danish culture it has its own verb, noun and adjective—can offer on getting you through the next few months and well into the new year.
Yes, it’s 6pm and it’s already pitch black outside. But don’t let the nights closing in get you down, instead use the change in season to create a feeling of ‘home’ wherever you happen to be. How? Light a candle! Candlelight is a central feature of Hygge, with the aim of it being to bring about a feeling of warmth and coziness, irrespective of how dreary it might be outside.
The Danes love lighting candles so much that they actually burn through more candlewax than any other country in Europe. Give it a try!
Hang Out With Friends At Home
If you’ve got your candle burning brightly in the corner of your cozy room, it’s time to invite some friends over to enjoy the feeling of Hygge with. Spending too much time alone can be a huge factor in depression and anxiety, which is why the Danes place so much value on spending quality time at home with friends. With shorter working hours and an enviable work-life balance, in Denmark there really is the leisure time to get together with friends and make the most of that cozy feeling. Invite some friends over and enjoy each other’s company around a warm fireplace for a true Hygge experience.
Eat, Drink, And Be Cozy
A creamy hot chocolate, a hearty supper, and a mouthwatering dessert. Delicious and satisfying food and drink are central aspects to the Hygge philosophy. Food not only brings friends together to cook and eat, it makes them feel warm and contented, in other words “hyggelig”. This is definitely no time for diets. Instead, eat, drink, and be cozy this winter and you’ll find yourself licking your lips in anticipation of those long evenings in.
Relish The Simple Things
Although we’d probably all love to retreat to our own wood cabin to truly embrace the concept of Hygge, it’s important to remember that Hygge is not about having the finest things in life but more about appreciating simple pleasures: friends, food, community, companionship, coziness. Partaking in a family board game, or appreciating the intense aroma of your morning coffee are both “hyggelig” activities. Try to live in the moment and notice the small things to really understand the homely sensation of contentment that Hygge epitomizes.
Create A Hygge Emergency Kit
When you’ve had one of those days and all you want to do is crawl under your comforter and disappear, it’s time to crack out the Hygge Emergency Kit. Your Hygge Emergency Kit should contain woolen socks, some hot chocolate, some candles, and perhaps a great novel. Add personal touches—things which make you feel particularly relaxed like a favorite record or some incense. Like a true Dane you’ll soon be ready to face the world again after you’ve reenergized with some quality Hygge time.
If we approach the coming winter like the Danes by injecting some Hygge philosophy into our lives, we’ll soon find ourselves looking forward to those chilly days and long nights. With your Hygge Emergency Kit and close friends around you, you may find winter becoming your favorite time of year. Light a candle and enjoy!