5 Ways to Embrace Hygge and Be Happier this Winter

How do you feel about winter?

Is it a fun time to cosy up with your loved ones, enjoy frosty walks and recharge?

Or is it an ordeal to get through so you can get out the other side to spring?

Most of us are somewhere between the two extremes, but did you know there is a way to boost all the good things about the winter season so you enjoy it more than ever before?

It's time to do winter properly!

This idea of embracing all things winter and enjoying them is called Hygge, a Danish term which means creating a warm atmosphere and embracing all things cosy to help you enjoy the coldest and darkest time of year.

In Denmark that means plenty of candles everywhere, plenty of gløgg (mulled wine), blankets and cosy knitwear.

Despite the plethora of magazine articles and books about hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), we Brits have yet to embrace its full meaning, so read on to find out how to hygge-ify your life and be happier this winter.

What Does Hygge Mean?

The Swedish equivalent is perhaps 'Mysa' which means cosy, but more than that too: being in the moment, enjoying it with all your senses: the hot cocoa, the crackling fire, the cosy jumpers to snuggle up in.

You get the picture!

It's not about a direct translation of the word, but an acceptance of the feeling, the ambience of hygge.

December isn't too bad for most of us, we get through those first wintry days in a whirl of Christmas planning and Christmasness.

Then January and February bite. With the festivities behind us, many of us face a miserable January to simply 'get through' before spring starts to return.

This winter, instead of biding your time waiting for the warmer weather to return, hygge up your life and ENJOY it!

How to Hygge

So just how can we embrace the colder, sometimes bleak, winter months?

There are three main elements to hygge:
  1. Cosiness
  2. Intimate warm and welcoming interiors
  3. Taking pleasure from the simple, soothing things

It has been said that it essentially means: "creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people".

And who doesn't want to do that?!

5 Ways to Embrace Hygge and Be Happier

Here are 5 ways to bring more hygge into your life this winter:

1. Invest in Cosy Knits

Most of us don't need an excuse to grab a cosy cashmere jumper, a beautiful knitted scarf or even a snuggly blanket.

Give yourself permission to take an evening, an afternoon, or even an entire day off.

Pop on your comfiest and cosiest knitwear and curl up under a blnket together to watch a fabulous movie.

If you prefer to go out, layer up the cashmere, choose your most stylish jumper and head out for mulled wine or hot chocolate with friends.

Socialising while staying cosy and adding some hygge with crisp wintry smells, delicious food and drinks and good company is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

2. Create a Warm Atmosphere

There aren't many things better than being warm and cosy indoors while the rain lashes or a gale blows outside.

Create a warm, welcoming atmosphere in your home, both physically and psychologically.

There are lots of ways to do this from lighting candles everywhere (LED ones if you have kids or pets around), to stringing up fairy lights or adding lower lamps instead of a harsh overhead light.

Use unscented candles but add some subtle scents to your rooms with a diffuser or oil burner.

Add extra throws and blankets to sofas, chairs and beds in tactile fabrics like faux fur, velvet and chunky knits.

3. Embrace Nature

Instead of dreading the cold and short days, get outside and enjoy it.

Several studies have shown that exposure to bright morning light can help combat insomnia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and even PMS symptoms.

It can also help boost energy naturally and improve mental health and wellbeing, so aim to get outdoors every day, whatever the temperature.

Even a short walk around your neighbourhood or, preferably, a wintry nature walk will have a positive effect, just remember to wrap up warm.

It's a good idea to open windows every day too, if only for a short time.

Even when it's chilly outside, it's important to air your home and let fresh air in each day.

Bringing natural elements into your home is a key aspect of Scandinavian design, so collect some on your next nature walk.

Add some house plants to your space. Collect fallen twigs or branches and pine cones, or driftwood and seashells at the beach and display them throughout your home.

4. Switch Off

One of the best things about Christmas is being able to switch off from email and even your phone completely guilt free because you know everyone else will be too.

Why not embrace the peace and quiet of being screen-free as you add more hygge to your life this winter too?

Dedicate at least one of your days off to being completely switched off - no email, no phone, no social media.

Hygge is all about embracing the simple life so get under a cosy blanket with a good book, play with your pets or your children, take a walk in nature, play board games, or snuggle under a blanket with your loved ones and watch some classic movies.

You'll be more grateful and happier for these special moments than you will be if you'd answered your work emails a day early or disappeared down a miserable social media rabbit hole for 2 hours!

5. Gather Together

We all know that spending time with people we love and whose comapny we enjoy makes us happier, but how often do we make time to hang out with them?

Hygge is about socialising together on a smaller scale, not fancy dinner parties or big nights out.

So reach out to family and friends and invite them round for some cosy quality time together.

Simple, good food is the key to a delightful hygge-filled gathering. Appeal to the senses with foods that smell and taste delicious and get your guests involved in the cooking and serving too.

Or take time to make the perfect cup of coffee or hot chocolate and serve it with delicious pastries or a warming cake, preferably homemade!

The slow food movement is all about good food done well, and when better to spend some relaxing time creating an easy but sumptuous feast in the kitchen than winter time?

When it's cold outside and the Christmas festivities are over it's all too easy to feel fed up and even experience SAD symptoms.

But if we actively choose to embrace the winter season, to invest in beautiful but cosy clothes and blankets, to make time for family and friends, and to make our homes as cosy as possible while also enjoying the great outdoors just a little bit, we will create a happier, more hygge-filled winter season.

Rather than discounting up to a quarter of each year as 'the miserable months', it's time to enjoy it.

Follow these 5 tips for more cosy, more fun, more quality time - and more gratitude for what you have. And that's all we really need for any season!

More tips:

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