Hygge: Live Joyfully this Winter!

“Live life today like there is no coffee tomorrow.” – Meik Wiking

My husband and I lived the quintessential Aussie beach life on the mainland, until we moved to Tasmania for work, to purchase a hobby farm and procreate. 2020 marks our 8th Winter in the Garden State (but who’s counting?). We’ve come to appreciate that cold climates have a quiet, rugged beauty to them, but you need a level of preparedness in order to really savour and enjoy them in all their glory.

That’s where Hygge comes in and the Danes have it down pat, being amongst some of the happiest people in the world. Hygge is the time honoured Danish art of fulfilment, of savouring life in the midst of daily living – it’s a philosophy, a way of life. Hygge (pronounced Hugh-gah) translates to mean many things including; ‘cosiness’, ‘warmth’ and ‘togetherness’, things we most need to boost when it’s cold outside.

Working in mental health in Tassie – I’ve seen first hand how things like depression afflicts some pockets of the population here like no other State. We have some of the highest statistics in Australia when it comes to anti-depressants prescribed by GP’s for instance. The Winter’s here are noticeably cold and life tends to hibernate. We need to cultivate Hygge to look after our mental health, especially during the frosty months, because we can’t rely on the light and warmth, that are in abundance in more tropical locales. We need to bring the things we treasure in nature inside to enjoy.

In a world that can be flashy, artificial and disposable at times – cultivating Hygge is more important than ever. The top 10 ingredients to cultivate Hygge (aka the Hygge Manifesto) are;

Atmosphere – warm, low lighting, especially candles or my personal favourite a roaring open fire.

Presence – value the people you are with, so put that phone away!

Pleasure – warm beverages and home made, comfort foods.

Equality – do things together and share the air time.

Gratitude – take it in and enjoy it, this could be as good as it gets.

Harmony – the people you invite into your home, should already like you! So don’t brag about your achievements.

Comfort – it’s all about relaxing.

Truce – don’t talk about controversial topics.

Togetherness – build narratives and stories, ‘do you remember the time we?’… for instance.

Shelter – being with people you trust, is the best way to feel safe and secure.

The above comes from ‘The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well’ by Meik Wiking, which I highly recommend as it’s packed full of practical tips to harness Hygge in your home. Meik also happens to be CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen – so shares the best evidence from long term studies when it comes to top Hygge and it’s impact on mental health.

I don’t know about you but for the first time in 8 years, with my new appreciation and Hygge toolkit – I’m really looking forward to the Tassie Winter this year. It’s time to make where you are, the happiest place on earth by Harnessing Hygge!

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