Winter can be a challenging time for some as we adjust to the seasonal changes. Winter in 2020 is even more likely to be a challenge. As we seek safety by staying at home, we might find that we are struggling to maintain sanity. My husband and I turned to a country used to adjusting to difficult winters for a solution.

Denmark is a country that is often rated one of the happiest countries in the world. When visiting Scandinavia, we embraced their culture, and attempted to bring it home with us. With long, dark winters, what is their secret? The answer is Hygge.

Hygge is a concept that has recently gained popularity. According to Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge, this phenomena is “about an atmosphere and an experience rather than about things.” According to his book, there are ten elements to help achieve this feeling of home and comfort. Let’s take a look.

Credit: Meik Wiking-The Little Book of Hygge

So, how do we do this? It is important to find pleasure in little experiences – to notice these moments. My husband and I have created a Hygge advent calendar the past couple of years so we can enjoy something special and unique together each day. Some things you may want to try to include:

  1. Light candles at dinner.
  2. Put on those fuzzy socks when you are around the house.
  3. Plan special meals and eat slowly. Enjoy the act of cooking and eating.
  4. Create a little book nook with pillows and blankets. Make time to read.
  5. Enjoy a warm beverage such as tea, coffee, or hot cocoa when the sun goes down.
  6. Avoid reaching for your phone when you have down time.
  7. Try to stay connected to others. Zoom, Facetime, recipe exchange, virtual bookclub, etc.
  8. Go outside when you can. According to cold cultures, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Enjoy time outside during daylight by going for a hike, playing in the snow, or sitting by a bonfire.

Hang in there. Try to enjoy our time now, even when all we want to do is press fast-forward.