A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances.
Winter can be a struggle for many people. It’s cold, it’s wet, the days are shorter… Hygge, a practice of the Danish culture, is a practice that is meant to bring joy, contentment, and community into the home. The Danes live in a cold, wet, dark climate all Winter, and yet, according to research, are considered the happiest people in the world. So, what are they doing, and why is it working for them?
Soft lighting is a huge part of Hygge. The Danes have a gift for creating lovely pockets of soft lighting all around their homes using candles and lamps that diffuse a soft glow. Candles are rarely scented, and battery operated work also. The key to finding the right battery operated candles and finding the right light bulbs is a glow that mimics the glow and color of a real flame as opposed to a bright white.
Timing is everything. Many people who practice Hygge do not use overhead lighting unless necessary for cleaning and other tasks that need that extra light. When considering our Circadian Rhythm, our 24 hour body clock that takes it’s wakefulness and sleepiness cues from outdoor light sources, this makes so much sense. If all overhead lights are on until 11pm, our rhythm has trouble matching natural daylight hours and it can disrupt sleep patterns and energy needed during waking hours. This can be anxiety inducing!
What if, as the sun goes down, there is a fire in the fireplace, or a lamp by your favorite chair where your Bible or other favorite book are located. Perhaps a few votives in various places in the room. No overhead lighting. Is there a likely chance this would draw you in rather than stress you out?
We are built for community. It wasn’t God’s intention for humanity to live in isolation. Sometimes a winter can feel long and isolating. Scruffy Hospitality, meaning you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before inviting others in. Scruffy hospitality means your need for more good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, usurps the desire for a clean kitchen and a impressing guests with a gourmet meal. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re at our best, are we truly sharing our lives with one another. Could it simply be a night of soup and boardgames?
Chunky knit blankets and sweaters. Soft slippers or socks. What brings about that “nest” feeling in your home? Is it hard plastics and lots of colors? Is it soft fabrics and natural tones? This is not to suggest running out and buying more “stuff”. This is about looking around your home. What doesn’t fit the cozy vibe you are after? Shop your home for what does fit the vibe. Again, you likely have a favorite chair or place to sit. Is there a favorite blanket or throw pillow you can add? Favorite slippers? Can you place a woven basket with your favorite coziest and softest items?
Bring the outdoors in! Take your decorating queues from God. What’s He doing out there? Branches? Bring some in. (Maybe even create something soft to hang on them.) A common practice of Hygge is forced bulbs. When it seems we are surrounded by a lack of living color, how lovely is it to have a bright red Amaryllis in your living room? Paperwhites in your windowsill? The beginning of a Daffodil you can love and transplant in the spring?
Remember the pandemic? Of course you do. In fact Winter might even bring a little bit of PTSD for some. But the resilience of humanity was incredible as so many people used this time to learn a new skill or hobby. There are many free and low-cost ways to spend your time indoors that can bring joy and satisfaction to your life. Puzzles and reading are pretty common ways people spend time when snowed in. What about learning to sew, playing an instrument, or creative writing? What is something you thought you might like to try “someday”? Could today be that day? Poke around the internet for free tutorials and patterns and recipes and…
Slow your breath down.
Open your heart.
Ask Jesus to fill you with the fullness of Christ, and flow as the Spirit directs you!