Is anyone else as excited for autumn as I am? We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave lately, but the nights and mornings have been cooling down beautifully. With the crisp air and the shorter days, I can’t help but think ahead to the holidays. This is already such a sweet and special season, but I plan to relish in it even more with a little bit of hygge.
What is hygge?
Perhaps you’ve been living under a rock (or raising little ones — same thing) and haven’t heard the term.
“Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special . . . [and it] literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.” (hyggehouse.com)
Slow living. Being present. Enjoying the present.
This is good for the soul.
While the concept of hygge can be applied year-round, it seems to be made for autumn and winter. This is actually how the concept originated — as a lifestyle strategy for getting through the long, dark winter months in Denmark.
6 ways to adopt hygge into your life this season
The beauty of hygge is that it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Although, there are a few things I’ve already invested in that help cozy up my home.
- Be present with your family. When you’re at home, make it a point to be present with your family. This can feel like a challenge — especially for moms, whose jobs never end. I feel like I’m always distracted when my daughter is talking to me. (Partly because she’s always talking, and partly because I always have some form of housework to do.) But the way I see it, even 5 minutes of undivided attention helps.
Your challenge: Set a timer for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, and commit to being fully immersed in conversation or play with your family during that time. My daughter and I have a playlist with about 15 minutes worth of music. I like to use it to designate time for me to be fully present with her, while also designating time for “independent play” (read: she plays by herself while I get housework done). I play the playlist twice: The first time is for independent play; the second is for Lily-Mommy play.
- Clear the clutter. You can’t be present if the clutter around you is affecting your ability to focus. Unclutterer.com discusses research results from a study at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, explaining that “clutter competes for your attention in the same way a toddler might stand next to you annoyingly repeating, ‘candy, candy, candy, candy…” (Can anyone relate?) If you can clear everything from your home that doesn’t “spark joy”, you’ll be left with a very clear picture of who you are and what you care about. Your space will feel open and serene, which will allow you to devote more attention to being present with your family. And the magical part of this? You’ll be VERY picky about what you allow to enter your home after you’ve decluttered (which means fewer purchases!).
Your challenge: Take one step toward reducing the clutter in your home. I would recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing since the author’s method for tidying makes so. much. sense. But if you can’t, start with one room. (Yes, this goes against the categorical approach of the “Konmari” method in the book, but it will be quicker and might give you a more immediate boost of inspiration.)
- Appreciate what you have. At the heart of hygge is slow living and enjoying the present moment. When we rush to make purchases, all of that dissipates. So, instead of trying to “buy hygge”, commit to appreciating what you already have — namely, your relationships.
Your challenge: Stop and enjoy the things you use on a daily basis. Maybe you say a little “thank you” to your favorite coffee cup in the morning, or put a little more love into wiping down your counters. Yes, it might sound odd, but the act of treating your possessions with care (almost as if they were human) can promote the practice of slow-living, discourage unnecessary spending, and of course, help extend the lifespan of your belongings.
- Play music. I marvel at the power of music on a regular basis. To me, it is a clear indication of the existence of God. It spans all cultures over history, yet serves no evolutionary or survival purpose. It speaks to our souls, having the ability to lift us up or bring us down. I love how the simple addition of music can transform an atmosphere.
Your challenge: If you aren’t already, get into the habit of playing music in your home. Think about what kind of tone you want to set and find a station for it on Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon Music. My favorites stations are: Adele, Alabama Shakes, Blues, Classical guitar, Gotan Project, Hillsong, Jack Johnson, and Sia.
- Make meal times sacred. For us, dinner is the only time we are all together as a family. It can be crazy with little ones, but we try to always eat together at the table. If this isn’t possible for you, don’t be discouraged. Maybe you can set aside Saturday dinners (or even breakfasts) as your special family meals.
Your challenge: Identify at least one meal per week that you can set aside as sacred. Maybe find a special recipe to try. Leave your phones in another room, light a candle, and commit to enjoying the meal together as a family.
- Indulge in cozy. For you, maybe it’s an extra cup of coffee in the morning, or some super soft socks. For me, it was a sheepskin rug and some pure beeswax candles.
Your challenge: Find out what feels the most cozy to you and pursue it. Then, share what it is with us in the comments below!