Hyggekrog

I made a post on here a while ago about hygge, the danish aesthetic of coziness and comfort. Ever since reading about hygge, I’ve been obsessed. For the last month and a half I have been meticulously cleaning and reorganizing every square inch of my house. I’m actually surprised how quickly I was able to get everything accomplished. All of a sudden I found myself with nothing left to clean. At first I was saddened by this, but then I remembered: hygge. It was finally time! Time to transform my home into a cozy little true expression of my inner self. And I knew exactly where I wanted to start, making myself a hyggekrog.

A hyggekrog, from my understanding, is basically a little corner or small space somewhere in your home that is extra inviting and cozy. Perhaps a window seat full of pillows and soft colors where you like to read a good book in the evenings. Hyggekrogs remind me of being a kid again, making a blanket fort, or a little temporary space just for you. Except now, this is my house and it doesn’t have to be temporary!

For the last few days, I have been buying up lots of nice rugs, pillows, blankets, and fairy lights. There is a room in my house downstairs that is massive, but I never really use it for anything. For the few years I’ve lived here I’ve spend 98% of my time upstairs. Now that I’ve finally decorated it to my liking though, this downstairs living room is my new favorite place.

I laid down a white faux fur rug, propped up tons of giant neutral toned pillows, piled up some super soft, white blankets, and hung fairy lights everywhere. It is the most magical little nook, my hyggekrog. I love it so much. It is so interesting the way the atmospheres around us can have an effect on our inner wellbeing. It is a fun and easy way to quickly get yourself into a more positive headspace. When I sit in my new hyggekrog, I feel like a carefree kid again. Nothing can touch me there. I am so warm and safe and happy. I am so excited to have someone to share it with one day.

So Grateful

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I don’t know why, but I have felt especially grateful lately. I feel as though things are finally looking up for me, even though not much has really changed on the outside. This morning I drove nearly an hour away to teach my yoga class in a horrific blizzard. My area does a dismal job of taking care of the roads, so it ended up taking me nearly two hours to make the drive this morning. Normally I would have been insanely stressed about that, as well as angry that no one had treated the roads at all. But instead, I was able to focus on the positive more easily than I usually am. I found myself feeling grateful that I had woken up on time and left early enough to give myself plenty of time to drive as slowly as I needed to. I was grateful that I remembered to heat up my car for ten minutes before I headed out. I was grateful that I had recently gotten new tires put on my car. I was grateful that I already got gas the day before. I was grateful that my car didn’t slide or go off the road, grateful that I made it to my class unscathed, grateful that a good bit of my students still came out into such awful weather to practice with me. So much to be grateful for!

Even on my way home, when I got directed off the highway in an unfamiliar neighborhood due to some accident, I remained relatively unbothered. I was just grateful that I was not the one in an accident. Plus the detour took me past an adorable metal dinosaur sculpture in someone’s yard, that I had never had any reason to drive past before. What a treat! Now as I sit at my home, I am so grateful to be back safe and sound with my sweet fur babies. Nothing feels better than being warm and cozy inside with the heat running and a mug of hot coffee nearby as you glance out the window into the blinding brilliance of a snow-covered world.

I’m not sure why I’ve been feeling more at ease lately. I’d like to think that I have made some important spiritual progress, but I don’t know. I have been reading some beneficial books, but it’s hard to imagine they could have already had such a profound effect on me. All I know is that I have been feeling more calm, more grateful, more open. I’ve even been having happier dreams lately. Without knowing what to attribute this shift too, I am worried that it won’t last. But even so, I am going to fully embrace and enjoy it while it does.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Even though I am a summer person and generally prefer warm weather and sunshine, there has always been a special place in my heart for the Christmas season. I haven’t been religious since I was in middle school, but I’ve never lost my love for Christmas. It seems like it has lost most of its religious significance in modern times anyway. It is a heck of a lot more focused on consumerism and commercialism. However, for me, it’s always been about coziness, togetherness, and family. There is just something so inexplicably satisfying about being warm and safe and close to the ones you love when it’s so cold and grey and inhospitable outside.

Whereas spring and summer are full of activity and exuberance, the fall and winter months are more suited to the quiet stillness of going within. They are a time to rest and be mindful. A time to pause and reflect on all that we are grateful for. It is a time to hold your loved ones close and give thanks that we have all made it through another long year together.

My family isn’t really very affectionate. We don’t give tons of hugs and kisses. We don’t have many heartfelt conversations. I’ve always been envious of other families in that regard. I am an affectionate person, but I feel my ability to express that has been underdeveloped after living amongst such closed off people my whole life. For me, Christmas is an excuse to really lay my love on thick without feeling awkward about it. It feels like grand emotional displays are more acceptable during this time of the year. It gives me the courage to let myself be truly vulnerable. This holiday makes my heart feel so open.

I have a friend that always writes a lot in every card she gives you. They are always beautifully worded outpourings of genuine love. For years now I’ve made a tradition of this for myself. Every gift I give for Christmas has a least two parts: the physical gift, as well as a poetic verbal summation of my profound love and appreciation. My family has come to expect these tear-jerking messages each year. I always joke about the way people cry whenever they receive a gift from me. I’ve learned that no matter how wonderful your gift is, nothing can compare to putting your love for someone into words.

Even if you think the person already knows how you really feel, don’t hesitate to tell them whenever you find a chance. Kind words can mean so much. I save every heartfelt card I’ve received from my friend over the years. I read them over whenever I stumble across one, and they never fail to cheer me up and calm me down. I treasure them more than any physical gift I’ve received from her.

Writing a personal card for someone can also be a great alternative to buying a gift. Especially with the financial insecurity this year has brought, it’s comforting to know that you always have something you can give: your love. You may be surprised to find this warm gesture is even more significant than an expensive gift would have been.

I hope that you can also use this season to open your heart and share that deep well of love with the people around you. It is a beautiful thing to witness yourself learn to shift your focus from receiving gifts as a child, to giving them as an adult. It’s hard to decide which phase is better. The excitement of waking up to presents under the tree as a child was amazing, but I think I may prefer the soft, deep, reverberating warmth of being able to give to those you love even more.

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Have Yourself Some Hygge

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I’ve been reading about an interesting part of Danish culture recently known as hygge. (Don’t ask me how to pronounce it. I’ve heard it said a few different ways.) My interpretation of the word based on what information I’ve gathered so far is coziness. Apparently it is a major part of the Danish lifestyle and vocabulary. And given that Danish people are ranked some of the happiest people in the world, I wanted to write a little bit about this concept today.

I find it so interesting that a lot of things that are deemed hygge are the exact same things that have always given me that cozy, safe feeling my whole life. I would love to know why these comforts seem to be able to cross cultural barriers. I’m sure there are some interesting psychological principles behind that. Either way, I plan on making hygge a huge part of this holiday season and the year ahead.

To me hygge seems like the ultimate mindful incorporation of self-love into everyday living. Hygge is all about soft lighting, warm food and drink, quiet corners, soft blankets, comfy clothes, and dear friends. Sounds like Christmas right? Well why not invite that warm feeling each and every day?

I’ve always been obsessed with low, soft lighting. There is just something about string lights and lamps that provide a sense of peace and comfort. Just the image of snuggling up with my pets on the couch, candle burning, book in hand, coffee brewing, makes me feel so happy inside. To me, this is self care. This is self love. And this is the atmosphere I want to give myself in 2021.

But since fall and winter are the most hygge seasons, I’m obviously not going to wait until then to begin. I found a free PDF of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living if you’re interested in learning more for yourself. It seems like a general introduction to the concept, so I’m eager to find more material on the subject. I hope to find more helpful tips on how to make my home as hygge as possible. As well as maximize my family holiday hygge factor.

One important part of hygge that I worry I’ll struggle with is the social connection. However, I am hoping that my excitement to incorporate hygge into my life will encourage me to create more meaningful social encounters with my close friends and family. A hygge hangout seems like exactly my cup of tea.

Let me know if you have any hygge habits that you can share. I have become ravenously hungry for everything hygge! If any of you are Danish or know about Danish culture, please feel free to explain this concept to me better, as I’m sure there is still a lot I don’t understand about hygge.

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