Why Do I Need Hygge?
With the recent devastation left by the Irma and Harvey hurricanes, the earthquakes in Mexico, floods in India and fires in California, I’ve been plugging into the news more frequently since I have family and friends in all those areas.
Dirty Waters of The Media
The thing is, in plugging into the news to find out about only those specific happenings, I end up mentally downloading a heap of other things I have no business knowing. The news media is always tricky like that. It’s comparable to a polluted racing river in that, when you step in, you can easily get swept up into the adrenaline driven head titles and scandalizing and still be left shaking off the foul stink, days later.
Diligent Filtering Out of the Unnecessary
I don’t need that stuff taking up precious space in my awareness, truly. It happens every time and is another reminder for me of the importance of staying committed to walking the tightrope of discernment every time I tiptoe into the raging waters of “the news”. It’s imperative that every time I read the news, I actively filter out the garbage as I find the information I need and then promptly get out of there.
As an aside, those of you looking for good news you can find it here(Monarch butterflies have a chance at staying away from extinction list), (kindness during Harvey) here and (honest man returns $10,000) here
Reaching Out While Anchoring Within
For the sake of my sanity and my utility, I’ve recommitted to my intention of focusing on only those things I can make a difference in. That said, the increasingly cooler weather and the orange, red and yellow leaves beginning to carpet the golden speckled grass, has amplified my need for tending to the coziness of my home now, more than ever before.
Self care in the past few weeks has not only meant stretching to make a difference in light of all the huge global changes, but also being responsive to my nesting instinct that wants to feel rooted and comforted as I weather my own personal storms.
The Dutch Have it Right
The term hygge is spot on for the feeling I’m intentionally focusing on cultivating in my home. hygge is a Dutch term that has become progressively popular in the states and is defined as a feeling of comfort, ease and belonging. Here is an article by the New Yorker that explains Hygge in all its cultural subtleties
I’ve been focusing on 5 things in my environment that make this cooler and crazier season more hygge:
As the days become shorter and the sunlight scarcer, it’s crucial in my home to have good lighting. These are two ways I’m doing that
- Changing light bulbs. Changing light bulbs in the areas of our home we use the most, like the living room, to full spectrum bulbs.
- Candles. There’s nothing like coming home from a cold, grey day to a candle lit space. It doesn’t matter how technologically savvy and advanced we become, nothing can replace the comfort that candles provide. I prefer candles whose scents subtle enough to not be overpowering but still fill up a room. This candle is strong enough to make a pet filled house smell good yet, reviews on amazon say it’s pleasant and light. With over 500 reviews on Amazon I’m going to give it a try
Warm toned shades of red, orange and yellow increase the coziness factor. I like to do this with interchangeable things like thick throws, pillows, sofa covers and curtains. It’s amazing how changing out just 4 things in one room makes it feel completely different.
- Thermal Curtains Our thermal curtains are great for keeping the house cool in the summer when it’s too hot and they double up in usage in the winter in keeping out the drafts at night.
- Caulking Since I don’t like the stuffy feeling in the house from applying the plastic weatherizing films over the windows, rope caulk has worked really well in keeping out the drafts when the curtains are open in the day. We saved a few hundred dollars on heating costs as well. Here is a great video on applying it.
Spending more time indoors gives opportunites for more moments of connection through pleasurable activities like
- Games: we like Scrabble, Guess Who and UNO that I’ve combined with these conversation starter cards called Ungame. We use them as wild cards
- Good Movies, need I say more?
- Good Music Good music throughout the day is sooo important. I have spotify on my phone and have playlists for when I want energy, to chill, to concentrate and to celebrate
5. Good Food
The biggest cozi factor in the winter for me is the irreplaceable comfort that only food can bring. Comfort when it’s cold, means more soups, casseroles, baked yummies and warm drinks of hot chocolate, atole and teas
With the need to sleep more and and the instinct to veg out more than any other time of year, I need to make it super easy to whip up favorite treats which means always having a stocked fridge and pantry.
Soup Staples: Vegetable base, sweet potatoes,onions, garlic, squashes,celery, carrots, jalapenos, cilantro and cold weather greens like collards and kale and spices of basil, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, oregano, and the basic Indian spices of mustard seeds, curry leaves, coriander powder, turmeric, cumin and dry fenugreek leaves. Our soups always have some type of legume or bean so to keep it interesting we have over 15 varieties
Warm drink staples include spices like ginger, cinnamon,cloves nutmeg, honey and masa for the atole (sometimes substituted with black beans).
Easy & Reliable Giving
In closing, I spoke about the tricky experience of getting information from the news. For those of you looking for ways to help those in need, here is a great site called Charity Navigator that has a directory of over 8,000 charities that they have researched and rated according to reliability and transparency.
My heart goes out to those of you going through storms of any kind, be them financial, health-wise, or relationship-wise. Know that this too shall pass.