A Coziness of the Soul
It is that time of year again. The sky is grey, murky, temperamental. The air is crisp, cool, and damp. The sun hides behind the slate clouds that pepper the sky. It is late autumn. That time of year when the trees have lost their vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, where the days feel colourless, bleak, and dismal, and where a dampness seems to penetrate and settle into your very bones.
It is that time of year for hygge.
What is hygge, you ask? Quite simply, it is the Danish way to live well. It is a concept I have written about in my post My Little Blog of Hygge, and had learned about from the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen, Meik Wiking. In his book The Little Book of Hygge he examines how togetherness, atmosphere, food and drink, clothing, and light can elicit certain emotions and create an intimacy of the soul. I had heard murmurings about The Little Book of Hygge; and so on a cold autumn day [in 2018] I decided to read it … it was the best unintentional self-help book I could have chosen for myself.
Growing up, I always found this particular time of year difficult. The many shades of grey and brown triggered a deep sadness in my soul. Life around me was dying, song birds were flying south, animals prepared for hibernation. It felt quiet, eerie, and gloomy. It felt silent and lonely, and it made me feel acutely aware of time and mortality. And I was so young to be experiencing these very heavy feelings, which, even as I grew older, never actually left me. In fact they became fiercer and more profound post-cancer. They bubble to the surface and wash over me time and again, year after year. And the tangled web of emotions can trigger bouts of anxiety. I did not wish to live this way, and so I needed to find a way to help myself through. It was that need to fight the darkness that triggered my search for a way through it. And that is when I discovered hygge. With the help of hygge, I learned how to find my way through to the other side of these overwhelming emotions by creating an atmosphere of coziness – allowing me to feel safe, comforted, and soothed.
For those who are struggling to find a way through, here are some simple habits that have helped me during these dismal days – suggestions I took from The Little Book of Hygge and put into action. I practise these habits and find they help to soothe my soul and create an atmosphere of cozy comfort.
1. Candles. The flickering light of the candles dance and play, crackle and sizzle. It’s memorizing and calming. I dim my lights and light the wicks. My favourite candle to burn is my WoodWick candle. It crackles just like a wood fire and it releases the calming scent of the Frasier Fir.
2. Tea. By nature I am a coffee drinker (as some of you may remember from my many posts about coffee). But tea on a dreary, damp day elicits a comfort that cannot compare. The subtle scent and delicate flavours of tea warm you from outside in and calm both mind and body. Depending upon my mood, I enjoy a steamy hot mug of TAZO Green Ginger or The Metropolitan Tea Co. Provence Rooibos.
3. Slippers. Yes. I just suggested slippers – or even consider a thick wooly pair of socks. In fact, I have a combination of the two! I wear Padraig Cottage wool slippers with a plush sheepskin lining. When my feet are swathed in soft, fuzzy warmth, my whole body tends to relax. Add to that a shawl or a throw and a good book, then you are on your way to hygge.
4. Music. Music is a powerful art form. It can trigger memories, emotions, and imaginings within. For this reason it is imperative that you choose music that lifts your spirits and fills your heart with bliss. I often listen to Indie rock, folk rock, or the melodic voices of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. I feel lifted and inspired, calmed and content. Listening to music is my everyday habit.
5. Journal. I find journalling therapeutic, intimate, and beneficial. It gets my convoluted thoughts out of my head. It allows me to pay homage to my many blessings. I can share thoughts in my journal that I cannot share with others. It’s incredibly personal and extremely beneficial. If you are not a journaler, by nature, then try a simple gratitude journal. I bought one for my 7-year old son and he writes in it everyday. He records 3 things he is grateful for and something awesome that happened to him that day. I find it helps him to connect his experiences with his feelings, and it only takes 5 minutes a day.
These are only some of the suggestions touched upon in The Little Book of Hygge, and suggestions I have made in the past in my post Coping Through. These are habits I have developed and have found them to be beneficial, which is why I wish to share them. By practising these little hygge habits I feel a little more grounded and far less anxious. I can get through these bleak days and feel gratitude in my heart because I know that I am armed with the ability to cope and the knowledge that I am surrounded by small blessings.
What are your helpful habits? What do you do to elicit feelings of coziness, comfort, and happiness? Do you practise hygge?
A Coziness of the Soul. Published by Crystal Joy Hall
Featured Image by Taryn Elliott
Insert Images by Lisa Fotios and Anton Hooijdonk