As we enter the darkest days of what has undoubtedly been a long, strange year, I think it’s more important than ever to find ways to support our mental and emotional health. With this in mind, I am pleased to share the following piece on the Danish philosophy of Hygge by my favorite customer-turned-friend and guest writer, Jodi Hall. How do you intend to cultivate Hygge this winter season? Share in the comments, and be sure to follow Jodi @witchkittykansascity for cute kitty and Hygge home content!
HYGGE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
By Jodi Hall
Imagine you grew up in what is now Denmark hundreds of years ago; the winters are dark and cold and scary, and you need a way to prioritize your emotional health to get you through the dark season. To do just that the Danes did something remarkable – they centered their lives around celebrating and honoring their feelings and the little things that brought them joy. Think for a minute, do you have a favorite blanket or an old sweater you love that brings you a cozy sense of comfort? Do you light a candle at the end of the day and unwind with the flickering flame? Do you make time to close your eyes as you take that first sip of morning coffee to savor the sweet charge it brings you? If any of these scenarios resonate with you, you may like to learn about (or already practice) the concept of Hygge!
For many, Hygge is synonymous with cozy and I have to say, it’s not far off. One of the greatest benefits to this lifestyle is you don’t have to buy anything extra, organize your space in a certain way, to commit to a color scheme to bring the art of Hygge into your home! At its core, Hygge seeks to help you honor and cherish your authentic self. The incredible Marie Kondo masterfully illustrates this concept in her books and Netflix special. Choosing to surround yourself with what “sparks joy” does wonders for your emotional health. The concept of Hygge, for me personally, is best reflected in how I view my home. This space is more sacred to me than anywhere in the world; it is where I feel safe and secure and calm. It is where I give myself permission to rest and reflect and recharge. It is where I can focus on how good it feels to read a great book in my favorite rocking chair, where I can celebrate the creativity that flows when I journal while wrapped in a soft quilt, where I start each morning slowly sipping coffee from my favorite handmade mug I bought from a beloved vacation spot. It is putting emphasis and intention in your own rhythms and honoring how important they are to you. This is Hygge.
Going into not only winter, but the holidays, during this pandemic means most of us will be celebrating the happiest season of all from our own homes. Many of us will be alone or with immediate family and the gathering and community involvement this season encourages will likely be put on hold. This holiday season, more than ever, we could learn something from Hygge. This concept does not just celebrate joy and warmth in the mundane, it also asks you to sit with your feelings and honor them no matter what they are. (This is not a substitute for professional mental health treatment which can be an incredible resource, especially now). Hygge lets us slow down enough to understand that toxic positivity and trying to see the world from rose colored glasses is not going to help you get to the root of your feelings. The world is a scary place right now and you are allowed to grieve and feel angry. Don’t get into the habit of pushing these emotions to the side. Take time to ground yourself when negative emotions are in the forefront. When I’m feeling anxious, I wrap myself in my favorite blanket while I’m sitting upright. In my blanket shield I feel safe enough to cry, to yell, to process what I’m feeling in a secure space I made for myself. When the feelings pass, I stretch and imagine the static of those negative feelings slowing evaporating off of my skin. Hygge is not just fireplaces and hot coco, it is giving yourself the space to honor what you feel.
I encourage you to truly celebrate the small joys of this holiday season in any way that you can. Find a cozy spot in your home, light a candle, and focus on what you feel as you watch the flame flicker. Sip your favorite drink and notice how it feels when you give yourself the time to appreciate it. Give yourself permission to not be productive. Winter is such a lovely time to start being mindful in this way because winter does not carry the same expectations the warmer months do. When it is cold the world whispers, “It is okay to rest and be still.” The concept of Hygge was born to help ease the burden people felt during the darkest season of the year. After the year we just had I can think of no better philosophy to adopt this December; honoring and celebrating where you are and what brings you joy.