Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that expresses the concept of a feeling or mood that comes by taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Simple examples include making a ritual out of making coffee and then lingering over a cup with family or friends in a cozy, warm, candle-lit environment. Hygge is about being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.
How does hygge relate to winter activities? I think everyone in the US should consider putting a little more hygge in their lives. And perhaps, it applies most to those in northern areas during the winter. I hear so often about how much people “hate the weather” or “can’t stand the cold” or “I need to go to Florida.” I’ve been guilty about this myself, at times, so this article applies as much to me as others, to be completely honest.
Here’s the thing – why live the entire winter in a state of negativity? I suspect that it’s not good for health. Not in the sense that eating too much sugar is bad for you. However, I believe that too much chronic negativity has long-term health consequences. I just don’t see how one can have optimal health without sustained happiness.
Rather than complaining all the time, change your mindset to one of positivity. Consider the following:
Traditional Winter Activities
- Downhill skiing
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice skating
Remember doing these things when you were a kid? They were fun. You burned tons of calories and got lots of fresh air, but you didn’t think of those benefits, because you were just having a blast with your family and friends. Why not do these things as adults?
- Walk – so what if it’s cold – dress in layers and walk briskly
- Hike – there is something truly beautiful about walking in the forest in the snow
- Run – the idea that running in the cold is damaging to the lungs is pure B.S.
Why not do a workout in the snow? Squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.… Check out the following article and video by Ross Enamait.
Back to Hygge
Perhaps the best thing about being outdoors in the winter and being a little cold is when you go inside again to a nice warm home. Mark Sisson recently wrote about this writing that “feeling uncomfortable makes comfort feel even better.” I would say that make it a prime opportunity for a little hygge.
Here are some great hygge ideas:
- Hang out by the fireplace with NO electronics
- Enjoy a drink together – coffee, tea, hot chocolate, golden milk or some wine
- Light some candles – it creates ambiance for coziness
- Show gratitude – be thankful, laugh and love
I strongly suspect that if you experience a little “hygge,” it just may prove contagious. And what if you start practicing some hygge on a regular basis in your life – coziness, gratitude, less artificial lighting, less electronics, laughter and love…
Sounds pretty good to me. In fact, I am officially designating this coming Saturday Feb 29, 2020 as Hygge Day in my household. What do you think? Does that sound like a good idea for you and your family?