Does anyone have the itch? That ...winter is grey and never ending... why isn't it spring yet feeling? I know i sure do. Now don't get me wrong. I love when we turn the clock back in fall. I love the dark evenings. Probably more than most people. I can't wait to settle down in the dark with a book and a cup of tea. I still enjoy the dark of night. I am that person who still has their Christmas lights up.. well. because they are beautiful! (Although my husband says they are coming down this weekend! And we have to clean the attic! UGH) It's not the dark that makes me itch for spring.. it's the grey.. Everything is dirty, we are all feeling cooped up, and we just need some freaking sun!
I long to see green.. green grass, maybe some buds on the trees. Unfortunately I can long all I want, but the reality is that we can't rush the seasons. We need to learn to enjoy each of them and what they offer. I know for myself sometimes I wish there was a fast forward button to spring, but guess what.. no.. nope.. there isn't one! I started following a girl on instagram a few years ago from Scandinavia who was always posting fabulous winter pictures and relating them to the feeling of Hygge.
Have you ever heard of Hygge? It's a pretty amazing thing. It's a part of Danish culture where they find pleasure in coziness and comfort. Most feelings of hygge are associated with winter. So i dove in! I figured if she was finding joy (and not just her, her whole culture) in the dreary days of winter so could we! And the more I looked into it, the more I realized it's not just about finding joy in the winter months, it's about carrying that joy and hygge feeling with you throughout the year.
Now if you don't already know, many studies have been done and all the results show that the Danish are the happiest people on earth! Seriously, on this whole entire planet! Not even just Denmark, but the whole Scandinavian area. I just read an article that Finland is currently closing jails.. (9 this past year) because they have no inmates to fill them. Schools are practicing meditation instead of detention, and little kids go to forest kindergarten! I mean how much cooler could this part of the world get. I could go on forever, but I'll stick with hygge!
SO ... how do we, as an easily distracted, busy, uncontent society make some personal changes to find coziness and comfort in these long days of grey? Or for the whole year.
For me, I started with coziness.. I added some throws to my couches, kept my wood stove burning, got some oil lamps out of the closet, and wool socks. I do have some awesome slippers too! I found some books I'd been wanting to read to keep on the coffee, table for when i have time to hygge! Now, don't assume I live in this little cozy dream world. But at least now these things that bring me joy are readily available, so when i am ready to wind down at the end of a long day my house brings me a certain coziness.
Then on to comfort.. there are not many material things that bring me comfort. I have no real connection with any of the things in my home. I couldn't keep adding things to try and bring comfort. So instead i went the opposite way.. i started getting rid of things! What a comforting feeling it was to not be tripping over stuff that I didn't even want in my house in the first place. With a sort of empty slate, I am learning to find comfort in the everyday. My coffee in the morning, kissing my kids before I drop them off for school, folding laundry with my husband, watching my chickens peck around in the yard. Nothing about these things are miraculous in themselves. Although learning to notice them, learning to get excited when I hear the coffee grinder, or cherishing that my kids now lean over for that kiss.. even at 9 and 13.. maybe it's out of duty, who knows.. but it's not about them. It's about how I am choosing to notice how it makes me feel! Comforted. For me I have learned to find comfort in feeling things.
It's a crazy revelation when you see how little changes in your day can make it seem so much brighter. So if you have a few free minutes, check out the tradition of hygge. I'm still learning. But it's a sure way to cure the winter blues ... or grey's! Hey, maybe grey can be your new favorite color!
Louisa Thomsen Brits, a British-Danish writer, casts hygge as a state of mindfulness: how to make essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful, how to live a life connected with loved ones.
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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