This year has flown by – and shortly we will be celebrating my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving! I attempt to celebrate every opportunity for simple gratitude, and how lovely to have an entire holiday focused in that way. With great appreciation in mind, I’d like to share with you a lovely Danish word that fits in perfectly with the essence of the season – hygge. Pronounced “hoo-gah”, it can roughly be translated as “coziness”, although that one word falls very short of the happiness it embodies in the Danish culture.
A lovely book was written by Londoner Helen Russell called The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. She shares her best explanation of hygge as “a complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.”
Interestingly, the origin of the word hygge is from the Norwegian word for wellness. The word is transformed from noun to verb to adjective as often as possible in Danish dialogue, reminding each other (and now us) how often pausing to enjoy and be grateful can help us to maintain health and happiness.
Beautiful examples of ways to enjoy hygge might be savoring a warm cup of soup, snuggling up by a fire, or enjoying an intimate night with friends or family.
As winter approaches across our country, many people will find themselves feeling trapped inside by inclement weather. Rather than seeing this time as an inconvenience, perhaps you’ll remember to hygge and view your time inside as an opportunity for coziness and choosing enjoyable moments.
I offer you a few examples of hygge that may thaw those potential winter blues.
Take time to make a special comfortable space inside your home where you can feel warm and cozy, perchance read a book, maybe cuddle under a favorite comforter, while you may enjoy your four-legged companion snuggled there too.
Lighting a candle can create an ambiance in a room like nothing else. In fact, the Danish are never without candles in their homes. One note – try to avoid candles made with paraffin which contain toxic chemicals. 100% vegetable based or beeswax candles with cotton wicks are easily available these days and will insure a healthful environment.
Using essential oils in a diffuser is certain to lighten your mood. Katherine Thomas, a Canadian aromatherapist and perfumer, offers this simple blend for well-being:
• 3 drops sweet orange
• 3 drops cedarwood
• 1 drop vetiver
• 1 drop ginger
I’ve been told that Danish people don’t struggle with yo-yo dieting. It’s all about their lifestyle. There is no doubt that foods create stress within our bodies that have as serious effects as the stress we encounter from intense situations in our lives. Making intelligent food choices on a daily basis is the key. I believe that as you embrace the concepts in Skinny Gut Diet, internal hygge will be yours.
A behavior I struggle with daily is my tendency to rush around. Hygge is all about lingering. I love that word – lingering. The very thought conjures up feelings of ease and luxurious relaxation. Join me this season in remembering to linger – over a mug of tea, cup of soup, even a glass of water. Perhaps linger in a garden, taking a moment to smell a flower. Hygge is most wonderfully experienced in nature.
And of course, central to Thanksgiving and hygge is gratitude. I know you’ve heard this before, and it bears repeating. Choose to wake up and think of 3 things you’re grateful for and then at night, as you lay your head on your pillow, take a moment to do the same. This simple practice will go a long way towards creating your happiest life. We can practice hygge right here, right now. I wish you endless blessings at this beautiful season.