The official first day of winter is coming tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 21, and with it comes the shortest day of the year. This means many of us have a cold, dark few months of winter wonderland ahead, which can oftentimes take a toll on a person's general mood and outlook on the day-to-day. To combat the winter doldrums, let's take a warm and cozy hint from our Danish friends and incorporate their very popular (and yeah, world-trending) practice of hygge. You might be very pleasantly surprised to find how hygge can help your mood this winter, my friends.
So, just in case you haven't heard the word, hygge as a concept means a focus on coziness, comfortability, and conviviality that is meant to help your well-being and happiness. As a practice, the Danes consider it the guiding principal of a lifestyle during the winter months, a time to focus on self-care, and fun, quality time with loved ones.
It's a pretty good idea, no? Since so many of us have the tendency to take a mood plunge this time of year, hygge practices are a great way to keep your happiness and well-being at the center of your life.
Who knows, hygge might even make winter your new favorite time of year. Here are a few ways in which embracing hygge can boost your mood not just in the winter, but year-round, too.
1. More Time With Loved Ones
While it can be very tempting to hole up in your room with some snacks and Netflix for a whole weekend, the hygge life suggests you spend some time focusing on your friends and family. And studies show that not only are social connections good for your health, the lack of social connections can be bad for your health.
Whether you want to stay inside having a so-bad-it's-good holiday movie marathon with your BFF, or try ice skating for the first time with your sis, make sure to plan activities with people who make you smile every week.
2. You Get To Prioritize "Me" Time
While those social engagements are definitely a priority, so is unwinding with alone time. Focus on making your space conducive to comfort and enjoyable activities you can engage in when you're just doing you. Make a ritual of bath-time every night, or designate a corner of your room to electronics-free activities you enjoy, like reading, knitting, or sketching.
Hobbies like these can totally reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
3. All That Relaxation Means Way Less Stress
Yes, it seems like an obvious equation, but spending time on self-care and relaxation really does ease your levels of anxiety and stress. If you're already incorporating techniques to soothe your mind and make life more enjoyable, you're ahead of the game when it comes to stress management. Weekend work emails and your long list of obligations can take backseat for a while to curling up with a good book and some peppermint tea.
You might just find you're even more able to tackle the winter days if you give yourself some proper hygge time.
4. Staying Active Is Still Part Of A Hygge Lifestyle
Yes, while there's a focus on flannel jammies, a crackling fire, and mulled wine for that hygge life, consider incorporating a new wintertime sport into the coming months. Getting all bundled up and going for a cross-country ski in the woods, or taking a weekend winter hike makes coming home for blankets and books all the more enjoyable.
Endorphins, exercise, and yes, sunshine are all mood-boosters, so don't forget to keep moving during these cozy months, and make it even more hygge by bringing a friend.
5. A Focus On Cozy Cooking Can Boost Your Mood
Even if you're not one for cooking, make comfort and contentment the focus of your meals. Mood-boosting ingredients are a way to start, like a cacao chili or making some moon milk with turmeric before bed. Warm, grounding meals that feel seasonal are the way to go for winter.
Sit down while you eat, and share your meals with friends, even if you're just ordering in some vegan burritos.
6. Create A Bedtime Ritual
Because sleep and rest are the coziest activities of all, and also so, so important to maintaining a steady mood.
Create a nighttime ritual that supports quality rest, like shutting down electronics an hour before bed, listening to some calming music, taking a warm bath, and making sure your pillows are on point.
While hygge is definitely about making your waking hours as cozy as humanly possible, making sure bedtime is the best it can be will only increase your winter happiness.
7. Journal About What You're Grateful For
Focusing on what's good is always a wonderful habit to adopt, in any season. Even if winter feels like a challenge no matter how hard you hygge, try to keep a daily list about what you're grateful for, even if it's just your warm and cozy robe and slippers. Practicing gratitude is proven to help your mood, people, so just freaking do it!