How Hygge Helps with Winter Woes

Ah, the clocks have gone back, it's rained for a week and all of a sudden it's darker of an evening. Yes, all of the signs are there: Winter is on its way. And this Winter could be tougher than normal as we're still plagued with, well, the plague and our usual celebrations are likely to be curtailed as external restrictions stay in place.

Many people suffer SAD, seasonal affective disorder, due to the lack of daylight and the general deadness of Winter in nature. But, underneath the lack of leaves on trees and bare stalks of plants, there's a lot going on. Plants make the most of this time by storing their goodies ready to release them in the Spring when the cold is almost over, and this got me thinking, if plants sit out Winter by turning inwards and making themselves cosy, why can't humans do the same?

And then I remembered Denmark. You see, in Danish there's a word, hygge, which doesn't have a direct translation in English, and is a feeling, an ambiance and environmental condition of being super-cosy, snuggly and content within even when it's utterly freezing and blowing a hoolie outside. Lighting candles (safely, thanks), snuggling up in a cosy blankie in front of your favourite film with a glorious hot chocolate, taking a toasty bath, cooking a comforting meal, all this counts as hygge. If you're brave enough to venture outside, even wrapping up warm and being protected against the cold can be hygge to me, because it's feeling good on the inside.

Looking inwards can be daunting as often we don't want to explore our inner selves and often it's easier to look to external sources for contentment but when these are not readily available our mood can be adversely affected. What if we used this turning-in time to have a chat with ourselves, creating inner hygge and contentment so that we can bring to mind that lovely cosy-on-the-sofa feeling whenever Winter Woes wave at us? We can draw in our own goodies (achievements, memories of good times, what we've learnt in the past year) and nourish ourselves, just like our plant friends, making plans to blossom when we can wave Winter (and hopefully the plague) goodbye.

So, as our nights continue to draw in and temperatures drop like Autumn leaves, I'm doing my best to bring my hygge in and enjoy the dark months where I can find some lovely light.

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