One Little Happy Thing

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How I used Hygge to survive winter

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How I used hygge to survive winter

Winter is a struggle. The days are shorter, the nights colder and life just seems a little grey. With all the positive thinking I can muster I manage to make it through, but this winter was slightly different. I stumbled across hygge.

If you’ve been on my blog before you’ve probably seen my other post, My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life, but now as winter is starting to draw to a close I thought I’m summarize just how hygge has helped me cope.

If you’re not sure what hygge is please read my other post as I explain in some detail what it is, and what it means. Its a total buzz word at the moment, and those who have embraced the spirit of it can testify as to the difference it can make in a person’s life.

I’ve still struggled with the winter blues somewhat, but it hasn’t seemed as hard. Here’s just some things I’ve found which have helped.

Always have a comfy blanket to hand.

We have a tartan blanket, not too thick, not too thin, which stays on the arm chair in our living room. It is always to hand. Whenever I start feeling chilly I pull the blanket over and snuggle up. It’s pure comfort and cosiness, and getting wrapped up makes me feel safe.

Plenty of cups of tea.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, I’ve always preferred tea, whether that be PG Tips or something fruity. Something we invested in was a teapot, which is pretty amazing, and makes the process of having a warm drink just a little more special. It kind of reminds me of being at my Nan’s house. She always makes tea in a teapot, no exceptions. I don’t think she’s ever bought tea bags in her life! And it is the best tea. After being outside for any time during the winter a hot beverage is essential for warming the bones. Love it.

Alone time.

I’m an introvert. I used to hate saying that, but I’ve learnt to accept it about myself. I find spending time around people tiring, even close friends and family. Normally I also struggle to say no to social events (life’s too short am I right) but this year I decided to say no, to saying yes. I made sure to give myself plenty of time alone (or with my partner, his company isn’t tiring ever) doing what I like doing the most, drinking tea and reading books. It has been invaluable time to re-charge my batteries, and also gave me the time I needed to start this blog, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time.

Christmas scented candles.

I know, I know, Christmas is only one part of winter. But, the best kind of candles are Christmas scented candles. We bought a huge gingerbread scented candle and left it burning for pretty much the whole season (it had a much longer burn time than I expected, brilliant!). Every time I walked in the house it smelt like freshly baked ginger bread men, I couldn’t think of anything more comforting or homely. Even just thinking about it makes me want to get a new one.

Simpler food.

Since meeting my partner he has gone vegan, and I’ve mostly followed in his footsteps. This has opened our eyes to a whole new outlook on food. The meals we prepare together are generally much healthier, heartier and satisfying than anything I ever cooked before. I’m not going to preach that veganism is the answer to all of life’s ills, but it is definitely something you should look into as the food is so much simpler to prepare. Check out the Vegan Cookbook for beginners, it gives you a lot of information on the important questions people worry about, like where do you get your protein and calcium from. It has some pretty tasty recipes too.

A more basic home.

Back in November we moved into our first place together. We both had bits and pieces of furniture and art but nothing particularly cohesive, so we’ve had the basics but have expanded a lot over the last few months. We’ve stuck to neutral natural tones, dark wooden furniture and a few cacti and succulents. The place feels more homely than any other place I’ve lived in. We’ve kept everything basic, only “splurging” on a new sofa and arm chair (it barely counts as it was over 50% off, with a 15 year guarantee and fits in like it was meant to be).

These are just some of the ways the spirit of hygge has impacted my life over this winter, and has genuinely helped bring some sunshine into some pretty gloomy days. I genuinely believe everyone should take some of the basics and bring them into their lives. It really does make all of the difference.


Enjoyed this? Check out:

My top tips to bring lagom into your life

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Wait, whats lagom?

The culture wave of hygge is finally starting to settle, and in it’s wake we’re learning about all new aspects of Scandinavian culture. Lagom is a Swedish word which means just the right amount. It is not too much, not too little. No excess, no deprivation. Everything in moderation. Its a principal which could be used across so many different aspects of your life. And that’s what makes it so interesting.

Lagom could be a game changer for so many people when it comes to simplifying and improving their lifestyle. Scandinavian countries always fair well in the world happiness report, Denmark winning out again for 2016, and there are so many reasons for this. The principle of lagom is one of them, Scandinavian countries aren’t well known for their consumerism, preferring a modest lifestyle instead. This is also one of the many many reasons I love them. So far I’ve only been lucky enough to visit Norway, which was one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I’ve visited. The above photo was taken on my trip there, stunning right? Maybe I’ll be lucky and get a chance to visit the rest of them sometime soon. But I digress…

Here’s just some ways you could bring the spirit of Lagom into your life.

Your Home

  • An uncluttered home is a lagom home. Everything should have purpose, and if it doesn’t then maybe it’s time to get rid!
  • Do you really need anymore books, or cushions, or ornaments? Stop buying and enjoy what you already have.
  • When friends or family are visiting don’t be tempted to show off your home, let them enjoy the space.
  • Keep it neat and tidy, but do you really need to be able to eat your dinner out of the toilet bowl? Probably not.
  • Got 3 wardrobes full of clothes? You know what I’m going to suggest. Keep only the clothes which you wear regularly and donate the rest to charity, sell them on ebay, or give away to friends and family.
  • Have space in your home for family photos. Don’t plaster the walls in them, pick your favourites and hang them proudly.
  • Same goes for art work. Don’t be tempted to cover every inch in beautiful pictures. They will look all the more beautiful for having space to be beautiful.
  • Don’t leave your home spartan though, it is your home, your personality should be evident from those key pieces you choose to display.

Your Diet

  • Don’t be tempted to over eat. Listen to your stomach. Leftovers can easily be stored and eaten the next day.
  • On the flip side, don’t leave yourself hungry for hours just because it’s not a meal time. Enjoy a light healthy snack to keep you going.
  • Moderation is key. Fancy a piece of cake? Have a piece of cake, just not every day.
  • Carry water with you, you don’t want to leave yourself thirsty for extended amounts of time.
  • Ask yourself before eating: “Does my body really need that?”. If the answer is no then step away and go for something else.
  • You can’t be too tough on yourself for the occasional binge. Just accept that it happened and say to yourself “not again”. I find actually thinking the word lagom when eating sweets stops me from eating too many.

Your work

  • Don’t take on too much, know your limits and stick to them.
  • Don’t do too little, procrastinating literally doesn’t achieve anything, be pro-active and don’t put anything off.
  • Work your allocated hours and then leave. If your shift finishes at 5pm, leave at 5pm, don’t stay longer. Unless you’re asked to, in which case consider it if you real up to it. Some days I don’t mind doing the extra work, other days I make sure I’m out the door before they get a chance to ask.
  • Take your lunch break. Have a real break. Get completely away from the work environment if possible.
  • Appreciate that your manager, boss, co-workers all work at their own levels and you shouldn’t feel the need to compete. Know you’re own work levels and don’t draw comparison to anybody else.

Your social life

  • Seeing friends is great. Make time for those people you love, go out for dinner, go to the cinema, just go for a walk together.
  • Know you don’t always have to say yes. If you really don’t feel like spending time with them you don’t have to!
  • Sometimes the best nights are the ones which go on until the early hours of the next day. Sometimes they’re the ones that end at 8pm. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you which one it is, and don’t feel bad for cutting plans short.
  • If your friends have organized an event which really isn’t for you, don’t feel bad for not going. You don’t have to do things you don’y enjoy.

Your spending

  • Do you really need that? If the answer is no, don’t get it.
  • Allocate money for the occasional splurge. Life without any sort of excess would be highly boring. I let myself have one special treat every month, and since doing this I’ve saved quite a bit.
  • Give to charity. It’ll give you a little boost and the charity will appreciate it. Consider signing up to a monthly payment plan. Pick something you believe in and you won’t miss the money.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. But don’t be too harsh on yourself if you don’t manage, budgets are tricky and for the first few months can be a struggle. Give yourself a break.
  • Before borrowing any money consider if what you want to buy is essential or not. Sometimes borrowing money is necessary, and sometimes its not. Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary debt. It’s a burden you don’t have to carry.

The above list isn’t exhaustive. Lagom is a principle, a way to consider every decision you make in your life. When making a decision think about the overall effect it may have, living a much more simple life is brilliant, I know from experience. Steer clear from the unnecessary. Think lagom.

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