Monday, January 12, 2015
Hygge In The City
The Danish people have this secret- or maybe it's not a secret since the word is out- to getting through winter- in a country where the winter sun often sets before 4 pm they know all about the dark days of winter. The Danes have this regional phenomenon known as "hygge"- while the translation is tricky and there really is no accurate word to explain what hygge is in English- words like coziness and togetherness only give a very lose translation or explanation.
Essentially what brings the Danish so much joy during the darker days of winter is this underlying feeling of family and togetherness that extends well past the holidays. While we North Americans may only treat the weeks surrounding the high holidays as extra special the Danish continue well into the winter- buffering against the cold, solitude and stress. Hygge is not a physical thing- its more intangible- a mental state of wellbeing- a mood that is catching from person to person.
I love this idea- in months like January and February where the skies are so low and rainy- the weeks that sun doesn't break through the West Coast clouds ever- I'm embracing this Danish concept. I'm encouraging our family to rest- to take it slow- to linger- over games, meals and tea. I'm cozying up our little nest with lots of blankets and warm light- I think I will leave the Christmas lights up a while longer- the twinkling lights in the rain bring us all so much pleasure.
Normally I would be pushing us all to get outside- hike- run errands- take lessons- get things done- but not this year- this year our winter will be all about resting up for the warmer days that are on their way! By creating our own version of hygge- which does include lots of yummy food to eat- warm beverages and togetherness- I'm hoping to get our family through this tough time of the year well rested and in good health. It's easy to start feeling down because of the short days and inclement weather but I think- I hope- by changing our patterns we can look forward to coming indoors after school and work- nesting- slowing it way down!