Hygge as a Lifestyle – Part Three

Welcome to the third and final post in my series “Hygge as a Lifestyle.” Let me first reinstate the definition of hygge. Hygge is a Danish word meaning “comfort, warmth, and togetherness.” In Part One of this series, I wrote about the importance of unplugging from technology in order to fully experience the hygge lifestyle. In Part Two, I encouraged my readers to evaluate your environments, wardrobes, and schedules. In my third and final point, I want to focus on the “togetherness” aspect of hygge.

Once you have made your environment comfortable and warm and purposefully set aside times away from technology, it is now time to reconnect.

hygge as a lifestyle

Reconnect

With God

Curling up with a hot drink and a good book sounds attractive. So why not curl up with the Good Book. Spending quiet time reading God’s Word, praying, and journaling is an amazing way of reconnecting with our Creator. Turn on some soulful music, get out one of your favourite journals, and spend some time talking to God. I can’t think of a more comforting, hygge activity. Experiencing “togetherness” with other believers is also extremely important for a healthy, thriving spiritual life. Creating a comfortable “togetherness” with other believers may be easier in a small, informal setting. Hosting a weekly Bible study with just a few people is a great example. This gives you an opportunity to read together and share your thoughts openly on spiritual matters.

reconnect with god
Reconnect with God through Bible reading and journaling

With Yourself

Many people fear being alone. They fear quietness. They are afraid that spending time alone will make them antisocial. While there are definite benefits of spending time with God and others (see points above and below), there is also a great benefit of reconnecting with yourself. That, of course, requires time alone.

I encourage you to sit in silence for a few minutes each day and reflect on your purpose, your dreams, and your personality. Find a comfortable place to curl up and make notes in a colourful notebook. Get to know yourself. Until you fully understand what matters most to you and what makes you “tick” as an individual, you will not be able to properly relate to God or to others.

Once you get to know yourself, you will realize why you respond the way you do in certain situations. You’ll be able to explain to others why certain things are important to you. This will greatly improve your relationships. I also firmly believe that this will strength your relationship with God. God is all about having a personal relationship with each one of us. How one person worships God may not be how someone else needs to worship. While scripture gives us definite lists of things that God likes and doesn’t like, it does not in any way imply a cookie-cutter relationship with God. He created us each uniquely and with unique ways to worship Him. Getting to know yourself will help you discover the best way for you to worship.

With Others

When we think of creating “togetherness,” the first thing that comes to mind is usually our family and close friends.

There are a host of activities that can be enjoyed as a family. This includes playing games, sitting by the campfire, singing, baking, and even working together. Just google “family activities” and you will find a plethora of ideas. Sometimes just sitting and talking can also be enjoyable. Things to talk about can include happy memories, future vacations, or family projects.

reconnect with family
Reconnect with family by playing games together such as yard dominoes

The list is also endless for activities to do with friends. Many people find it enjoyable to craft together (think scrapbooking, sewing, etc) while others enjoy talking about their lives over a cup of coffee.

Find something enjoyable to do with each of your family members and close friends to fully experience the hygge lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on creating a hygge lifestyle? Be sure to share your ideas in the comments.

Until next week, God Bless!

Joanna

Hygge as a Lifestyle – Part One

There is a term that has been sweeping the internet for the last couple of years and that term is “hygge.” What is hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word made famous by Meik Wiking in his book “The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live Well.” He describes hygge as meaning comfort, warmth, and togetherness. It is about finding happiness and comfort in the simple everyday things of life. When I first heard this word and its meaning, I was over-the-top excited. It described the exact lifestyle I have been trying to live. Now I have an actual word to describe it!

That is why I am super excited to share with you my ideas on how to create a hygge lifestyle. I will be sharing these ideas over the next three weeks so be sure to stay tuned for the next two articles on this topic.

My first tip is in many ways the most important, but yet the most difficult. Here it is:

Unplug

So much of our lives seem to be controlled by technology. We use it for work, and we use it for play. While no one can refute that technology can be very useful, studies have shown that technology has a major negative impact on our brain health. The Guardian published an article called Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain, in which neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin states the following:

“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.

…Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebookupdater, and flashlight.

….Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient. Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.”

That sounds exactly the opposite of hygge. So if you want to experience a hygge lifestyle, you must deliberately unplug during times when the use of technology is not absolutely required. This could include reading printed paper books, writing in an actual notebook, or playing old-fashioned type games. Maybe it’s time to go back to Grandma’s crossword puzzles, Dad’s paper-backed dictionary, or Mom’s pocket planner.

unplug
Unplugging is an important step in achieving a hygge lifestyle

Unplugging is also vital in reconnecting with others. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the definition of hygge includes “togetherness.” It is difficult to experience “togetherness” when each individual is swallowed up in their own phone. Though called “social” media, this modern phenomena is anything but social. Real socializing begins when the phones are put down and the computer and TV are shut off. Then we can take time to re-connect in a real, not virtual, environment.

I encourage you this weekend to unplug and experience a little bit of hyyge.

Until next week, have a hygge life!

Joanna

Recovering the Magic of Christmas

There is something magical about Christmas to a child. The lights, the secrets, the treats. Magic that seems to disappear as time goes by and the responsibilities of adulthood take over. For many adults, Christmas can be the most stressful time of the year. How sad! What can be done to prevent this from happening? What can be done to recreate a magical and memorable Christmas? Read on for some tips and ideas.

Set Priorities

Ask yourself the following question: What do I want to remember about this Christmas? If you have spouse and children, you might also want to ask them the same question. For every person, the answer might be a little different, but choose what matters most for each family member.

Next, sit down and make a holiday schedule. Make one for the whole month of December, one for each week, and/or one for each day. Take a serious look at all the events and responsibilities of the season and see how each thing fits with your priorities. Will this event help you remember what you want to remember about this Christmas?

Once you’ve determined what events, etc. match your priorities, don’t be afraid to say “no” to the other things. If you say “yes” to everything, you won’t have time to truly enjoy the things that are important to you. You’ll also feel a lot of pressure and stress – exactly what we are trying to avoid. Remember, too, it isn’t being selfish to say “no.” If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help others (including your own family).

Keep it Simple

This point follows closely with the last point, but here I want to cover more of the smaller details of the season. If my readers are are anything like me, you might be striving to have a “perfect” Christmas. I want a perfectly decked tree, a perfectly spread tablescape, and perfectly wrapped gifts. There is a big problem with that, however, since I can spend my whole Christmas season working and fretting over everything I do. When the holiday as passed, most people are not going to remember those things. What people will remember is the interactions between family members and friends (whether strained or pleasant) and the mood of the atmosphere (whether happy or sad). Choose to enjoy the moment rather than on fretting about everything being perfect.

Schedule Quiet Times

This point also ties in with setting priorities.  Make sure to schedule a few times throughout the month, where you can turn the noise off, sit quietly, and reflect on this season. During this time, you might sit on the floor and admire the lighted Christmas tree. You might lie on the couch and read Luke’s version of the Christmas story. You might stand perfectly still in the falling snow and catch snowflakes with your tongue. Whatever, you choose to do, be quiet and only think pleasant Christmas thoughts.

So, what do you want to remember about this Christmas? Whatever your answer might be, I wish you a very Merry and Magical Christmas!

Joanna