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  • Writer's pictureJen

10 simple steps to embrace Hygge this Christmas

The run-up to Christmas can be chaotic. Planning and prepping for the big day, shopping, trying to finish projects for work and decorating your house can all feel a bit much. Well, give yourself five minutes to make a cuppa and read my 10 simple steps to embrace Hygge this Christmas.

Although we can embrace the concept of Hygge into our lives all year round, many of us associate Hygge with the winter months, when all we want is to feel cosy and warm.

“Hygge” for those who aren’t aware is a cultural value that the Danish embrace in their everyday lives. It’s about creating a nice life by enjoying simple pleasures. Spending time with people we love, curling up on a squishy sofa with a good book on a rainy afternoon, or going for a walk in the countryside, and coming home to a warming mug of hot chocolate.

Meeting friends in a coffee shop and catching up or baking a cake in your kitchen to enjoy with family at the weekend are all examples of Hygge. Put simply, hygge is the feeling of home, or wrapping yourself up in your favourite woolly jumper.

As our days are busy and we're rushing from one thing to the next, it’s easy to forget to enjoy simple pleasures. To take time to be in the moment and understand how enjoying simple things can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.

The great thing about embracing Hygge, is most of it is free. Any expense is up to you, like going out for a coffee for example. Once you start understanding Hygge, you may realise that you have been “practicing” Hygge in your life anyway, but perhaps not really recognised it for what it is and what you can get out of it. With the recognition of Hygge, you no longer need to feel guilty for having an hour or two snuggled on the sofa. You are embracing Hygge.

Think of Hygge as part of your overall approach to your wellbeing. You may already eat well and exercise to help keep you healthy and fit. But recognising Hygge and being mindful of Hygge activities will help you to have more of a well-rounded lifestyle.

Here is a list of 10 simple ways where you can enjoy a more Hygge lifestyle or inject some Hygge moments into the festive season.

  1. As winter days are short, it’s important to get some daylight and fresh air every day. Before you start work, see if you can fit in a 10 – 20 minute walk outside. Or take 10 minutes out of your lunchbreak for a quick walk outside and take some nice deep breaths. Of course, if you can spare a little longer, then that’s even better.

  2. Make the most of a wet and cold weekend afternoon and take some me time. Light the fire and curl up on the sofa or your favourite armchair and escape into your book for an hour or two.

  3. Embrace Christmas shopping and get in the festive spirit! Take your partner or friend with you to mooch around the shops, or a Christmas market. Stop for a coffee break or indulge in a luxury hot chocolate whilst you catch up with each others news.

  4. Enjoy family time on these dark evenings and get the board games out. There are some great games available now that make you laugh. And we all know laughter is the best medicine. Enjoy treats whilst you play. It's Christmas!

  5. Christmas brings food and lovely treats. We all overindulge at Christmas and many of us will spend lots of time in the kitchen over the festive season. Baking or making something yourself in your kitchen is a perfect example of Hygge. Taking the time to make something yourself brings a sense of calm whilst you’re doing it and a feeling of satisfaction at the end. Try your hand at baking bread, really enjoy the process – don’t rush it. Maybe you’ll make a Christmas cake, or sweet treats that can be given as Christmas gifts. Whatever it is, don't think of it as just another thing on your to-do list, be in the moment and enjoy the process and the time it takes to make.

  6. Take an afternoon off. And don’t feel guilty about it. Put on your PJs or your comfy loungewear, make your space nice and warm and embrace ‘cosy’. Christmas is such a busy time; we need a little breather. Put your phone away and switch off. Have a nap, put a facemask on, cuddle up with family members, read, knit or some other hobby or craft project.

  7. We can’t talk about Hygge without the enjoyment of candles. Candlelight is such an easy and cost-effective way to create a cosy and relaxing space. Why not add some candlelight to your dinner table to make a family dinnertime more of an occasion. Group together pillar candles for a focal point in a room. Arrange them in your fireplace, or on a tray to pop onto a side table. Dot candle votives around your home for a pretty, glowing effect. Or if you are enjoying a lovely bubble bath, pop some tealights around your bath for a truly relaxing bit of me time.

  8. In today’s world we can easily forget to be thankful and grateful for what we have. Social media is full of people sharing unachievable and perfect images of their lives and we can easily compare our own lives to theirs. We forget that most of what we see on social media isn’t real. At most it's a tiny snapshot of someone's life, where we don't know what else is going on. We should be thankful for what we have. Think about starting a gratitude journal. A little notebook where we write what we are thankful or grateful for today. We have so much around us to be grateful for, that sometimes if we don’t actively think about it, we don’t recognise it. It's easy to take things for granted. Write your gratitude journal at bedtime so you can go to sleep feeling happy.

  9. As it’s the festive season invite friends’ round for a casual supper, to catch up and enjoy simple food bits and maybe a nice drop of wine or a Christmas cocktail. Keep things casual so you don’t put extra pressure on yourself. We’ve recently bought a fondue set, which is a little retro but is a fun and relaxed way to entertain with your guests. Connection is an important value of Hygge. And as we feel the most relaxed at home, where we can be our true self, surround yourself with friends and family who you can relax and have fun with.

  10. Food plays a big part in our lives at this time of year and food is also a huge part of Hygge. Think comfort food and stocking up for winter. The word ‘hibernation’ springs to mind at this time of year. We all want to hunker down, keep warm and enjoy warming food and as it’s Christmas, some treats too. You may even want to gift homemade treats this Christmas. The winter months are the time you want to stock your pantry with homemade foods that will last. Make chutney, jam, and pickled veg. Infuse olive oil with garlic, thyme, or rosemary. Make up jars of healthy snacks like mixed nuts and died fruit. Embrace impromptu guests where you can offer them a mince pie or cheese, crackers, and some homemade chutney. Food is an easy way to connect with our friends and family, especially at Christmas.

So you can see, it's simple to embrace a Hygge lifestyle. It's about being in the moment when doing simple things like going for a walk, or reading a book. Recognisnig these activities as Hygge and that they are important to our overall wellbeing. They're just as important as going for a run or eating your greens.

Enjoy the festive season and all your Hygge moments.

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