We still have a few months left of the winter season. Of bitterly cold mornings, weather warnings and the potential for snow, not to mention the early sunsets gracing us whilst many of us are still at work.
While it is tempting to want to follow in the footsteps of some of our animal counterparts, hibernation is not really an option. We must wait it out and make the best of it. This is perhaps the perfect opportunity then to look to our Danish friends for a little winter-survival advice.
There has been much coverage of the extremely popular Hygge movement in recent years – with many contributing this Danish idea to the country’s well-documented happiness. For more than 40 consecutive years, Denmark has been voted one of the happiest countries in the world. In a country that experiences less sunlight than us during the cold winter months, what are they doing right?
While many believe Hygge simply translates into being ‘cosy’, it actually goes much deeper than this. It is a collective and all-encompassing way of life that Danes choose to live by – and with uplifting results.
Dating back to the 19th century, Hygge is derived from the word, hyggja, which means to think and to feel satisfied. In fact, it has evolved into one very humbling and approachable word. One that dismisses selfishness, self-indulgence and talk of politics. It focuses, rather simply, on just being together and creating an atmosphere that is cosy, welcoming and drama-free. It stresses the importance of feeling connected with friends and family, and the positive impact this can have on our wellbeing throughout the colder months.
Hygge encourages you to be yourself, not to take matters too seriously or pass judgement on others. In fact, it provides a rather good basis for how we should try to live our lives. While there will be serious discussions about politics or work to be had, inevitable complaining and negative experiences we want to share, Hygge encourages you to put this to one side – even if only for an afternoon – and enjoy the company of others without discussing and putting paid to these undesirable problems we face every day.
Ultimately, Hygge promotes togetherness and not taking family or friendships for granted. It’s about making time for people, being kind and enjoying the moment. Even in the darkest depths of winter, the people who really matter will be there, ready and waiting, to lend an ear and enjoy a cuppa.
Perhaps these winter months won’t be so bad after all…