Winter in West Virginia - and I assume everywhere with deciduous forests - can be challenging. The lush flora that makes our state so beautiful is gone, and the icy conditions can make travel - or even getting out of the house - a bit treacherous. Oh, and the limited amount of sunlight only adds to the melancholy.
Sure, the idea of curling up by the fire with a hot cup of tea is nice, but the forecast of doing it for three months is a bit uncomfortable. I mean, one can only cuddle contently for so long.
Several years ago, when the concept of hygge made its way from Denmark to us here on the other side of the Atlantic, many articles and blog posts started popping up explaining how to hygge, listing hygge habits and hyping the happiness of hygge.
In case you missed it, hygge (pronounced HOO-guh) loosely translates to English as coziness and comfort with a feeling of contentment or well-being. Another fabulous translation I found is "luxuriating in leisureliness."
For me, hygge started out as simply making the best of a bad situation, but now I actually look forward to preparing my nest for a cozy and comfy season. I see winter as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the life I have created.
I suspect this has long been the mindset of the Danish, which helps explain why Denmark dominates the World Happiness Report year after year.
The fundamentals of hygge seem to be all about setting a cozy mood, getting comfort and treating yourself to some of life's finest pleasures. I've listed a few helpful pointers below and included a link to a lovely template you can use to create your own hygge plan.
Set the Mood
It's easy to think of what we are missing in the winter, which creates a feeling of scarcity. It is only when we realize what winter offers in abundance, and take the time to alter our lifestyle, that true pleasure can be achieved in the cold season.
Winter offers us time slowed down. How we choose to spend that time makes all the difference.
Amy McLaughlin, your personal retreat co-curator at Lafayette Flats Retreats. Find me on Instagram posting about self-care, wellness and mushrooms. Yep, mushrooms.