Embrace Hygge and Fight Seasonal Depression
With the clocks falling back an hour, darkness has begun to appear much earlier. Currently, I am fighting the urge to go to sleep for the night as I write this article; it’s only 6:30 PM. The lack of sunlight in the winter often makes people feel less happy, with many suffering from seasonal depression. To get advice on maintaining my happiness through the colder months, I’ve turned to countries that face extreme darkness in the winter: Denmark and Norway. These countries have created the term, hygge, which is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. In general, hygge is an effort to take advantage of winter characteristics and use them to your benefit, instead of your detriment. So, I have compiled a list of my favorite ways to create a hygge-environment for yourself this winter.
Ambient and Warm Lighting
The first step to getting cozy is warm and comforting lighting. The goal is to brighten the room without creating a huge contrast with the darkness outside. I personally think of this as light created by a roaring fire and candles. The flicker of the flame adds to the feeling of hygge. Additionally, the ambiance can be set by dimming overhead lights and adding some free-standing lamps with a warm glow. The bright white and blue LED bulbs are NOT what you are looking for.
While candles were mentioned in the tip above, I am giving them their own spot on the list because I truly think candles are crucial to creating a cozy atmosphere. In addition to the charm of flickering light, candles also create a happy place for your nose. When picking out your candles, take advantage of the abundance of scents and find your favorite. For those of us still living in college dorms with fire safety rules, candles can be replaced with diffusers for the scent and fake tealights to replicate the flicker of a flame.
Comfy and Warm Attire
The most important piece of the puzzle required to stay happy during the winter is being as comfy as possible when it comes to your clothes. This can be in the form of soft sweaters, heavy blankets, chunky scarves, and thick socks. Keep your standing-only jeans in the closet until the sun comes back out. Maybe splurge for these fabulous cashmere socks or spend every second in your favorite sweatshirt that you’ve had since the 8th grade—whatever comfort means to you!
Quality Time with Friends/Family
The final necessity for a hygge winter is quality time spent with those who love you for you. Gather your oldest friends and closest family. Whether this time is spent over a meal, a cup of tea, or just together, creating these human connections is so important for maintaining your happiness over these winter months. You can talk about frivolous topics or your deepest thoughts; both qualify as hygge.
This list is simply meant to inspire you; what means hygge to me does not necessarily mean hygge to you. Begin to pay attention to the things in your life that make you feel safe and warm. Hopefully, hygge will bring joy to your winter. However, it is more than okay to not be okay all of the time. The honest purpose of hygge is to celebrate all of the little things that make life worth living with those you love.
Featured Image Courtesy of THE GLOSS