“In our hurried world too little value is attached to the part of the connoisseur and dilettante.” ~ Edith Wharton
How to survive winter is a topic we love to talk about. It hasn’t been much of winter here lately, until recently. I happen to like winter for the most part, and sometimes – a lot of times, I actually love it. I have to keep this to myself depending what crowd I am with, ha-ha. I think my one of my reasons for this positive attitude is because I just love cozy – every single bit of it.
In the Berkshires winters are often long, sometimes a little too dark, and cold. I think my favorite new word, and on every ones new word list recently, is “hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga) it is the Danish word for cozy. It isn’t just about the word cozy; it is about the feeling of cozy. I just read Meik Wikings new book, THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE. He is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. The book is about why the Danes are one of the happiest countries in the world. They have long, dark and very cold winters, so how could this be? There is a lot to the little word hygge, and the book goes into detail about trying to describe it. They use it as a verb and an adjective. For example ”we throw the words hygge and hyggelig around so much that, to foreigners, it may appear excessive. All the time. And not just the hygge moment itself. We talk about how hyggeligt it will be to get together Friday, and on Monday we will remind each other of how hyggeling Friday was.” There are more hygge descriptions to describe many more experiences too! I do recommend the little book because I think it made me realize that not overlooking any little bit of hygge actually does make you happier!
Here is my take on Hygge and most of it is very similar to the Danish version. I think the one of the differences between the Danish Hygge, and the New England/ Janis version is this; The Danes are extremely aware of the Hygge that they create, they are mindful about the experience of it, the feeling of it, and more appreciative about it. The simplicity of it often gets overlooked by some of us even if we also practice it, are we really feeling it?
1.Candles. Everyone I know loves candlelight. I happen to have candles going every single day – mostly just at dinner, even when it is just Jeff and I at the kitchen table for a simple supper. It marks the moment of special and sacred to me. Sometimes even for a special bath, and on very cozy nights in my bedroom when we are watching a movie or reading.
2. A fire in the fireplace, set so that at a moments notice I can open the flu, and comfy up in my living room with a book or a movie. When entertaining, depending what I am serving, we often eat in front of the fire. When we moved here almost 20 years ago, building a fireplace was one of the first things on our list of things to do. Jeff built the mantel. He loves to build mantels, he truly is an artist. Each one he has built over the years is completely different and inspiring! Many of our guests have been amazed that this is a new fireplace, since our home was built in the 1860’s, they just assume it was always here! We chose older looking and more rustic bricks so it wouldn’t look brand new, and Jeff picked a Rumford design to be more energy efficient, and to go with our antique home. We never feel more hyggeligt when a fire is burning in the fireplace. It’s all about creating atmosphere and warmth!
3. Out door exercise. After coming into our warm and cozy home, from the chilly outdoors, after an invigorating walk, hike or snowshoeing etc – it is perfectly hygge. You slip of your boots for slippers – grab a warm cup of tea, and feel the effects of exercise Your body is relaxed, your mind is clear, and you feel good about yourself. If I happen to be wet, and frozen to the bone, a delightfully hot bath with Epsom salts, and essential oils, feels especially hygee. Extraordinarily luxurious in the daytime!
Great winter comfort food = SOUP Here is vegan pho soup! Healthy and delicious.Bean & Lentil SoupMy favorite new dish is from The New York Times Cooking Section. Pasta With Fried Lemons & Chile Flakes – go over to my facebook page for this recipe ~ sure to be your newest comfort food! The lemons are sweet and fall right off the skin.
I added capers and garlic to the original recipe!
The lemons alone would make a great appetizer!
7.A cozy and perfectly plush bed. I love going to bed! My bed has to be perfect comfort – I share it with two silly cockapoos, and one man that steals half of it every night! Besides cuddling and snoozing, it is my favorite place to read and watch a movie too – I don’t care what the sleep experts say – it is the coziest place in the house!
I am not a napper, but when I see a cozy bed like this with dappled sunlight on a cold winter day – I just want to hop in!
So go grab yourself a cup of tea ~ have a tea party, and hygee up your life! You will not only survive winter, you will feel joy!
I hope you are having the happiest New Year! At the moment I am trying to discover a new career that allows all things Hygee to be a part of it. It is who I am. How to do that incorporating all of my passions…Lifestyle something? Home Décor? Health? Blogging? I will keep you posted. In the meantime I am enjoying the quiet of winter and reflection. Very recently I have become an activist! Going to two marches and even a stand in! Who knows where this will all lead, but it helps me feel hopeful, and learning how to be an active citizen is one of my new year goals.
Thank you for coming by my blog today ~ come back soon!
This article was written by Janis