Hygge: The Danish Cure for the Winter Blues

It’s the middle of winter with the holidays long behind us. As the first-snow excitement fades, we rediscover that there is SO MUCH WINTER to go. Not to be a Debby Downer but these chilly temps don’t just end in February. Even in early April last year, we were still clinging to our puffy coats and winter boots. In the realization that we have likely over two months more of this frozen tundra, many of us start to fall into restlessness, despair, and hyperanxious frenzy provoked by months cooped up inside.

Personally, winter drives me insane. I start thinking of all the things I could be doing, things I should be doing and get lost in the melodrama of feeling like a total waste of existence.

I’ve spoken to other humans (and dogs too) and I realized that I wasn’t alone in all this. Winter anxiety is a thing.Trying to be proactive, I began making a list of things that were making me happy and I realized that they all centered around this amazing word I learned while in Copenhagen last year: Hygge!!

Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is a coziness by-the-fire concept popularized in Denmark, the happiest country in the world. I was skeptical about this initially since it is SORT OF a hype but having encountered it in the flesh last year, I can honestly say it really does work.

I introduced a wellness version of hygge into my home this month and I have felt my anxious energy melt into a calm grounded energy. Here’s a few of the things I’ve done that I encourage you to try:

1/ Take a warm bath with candles, an aromatherapy bath bomb and Netflix.

Better than Netflix and Chill is Nextflix and Bathing. I prop up my laptop on my bath mat and sink into a warm tub emanating with the scent of sweet lavender. I never took baths before because ironically bathing made me anxious (as I felt the rush to get to my next my next activity). With all this extra time inside however and nowhere really to be, I am actually able to relax into it and watch a short TV show while I soak.

2/ Investing in warm ambient lighting.

Lighting is like, really important for the Danes. They spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on making sure their homes are equipped with cozy lighting that reflects warmth and homeyness. While I’m not willing to go quite that far, I’ve bought a couple of statement lights from the flea market and some cheap color-changing light bulbs that have done the trick. After dinner, I shut off the main lights and turn on my hygge ones to signal the end of the day.

3/ Getting back into puzzles and reading.

I bought a $5 sudoku puzzle book at the bookstore and have been working my way through it. It’s a great cure from the anxiety-storm and “who’s doing what” of social media and distracts my brain from those anxious thought patterns. I’m also trying to read a book per month which you can follow here.

4/ Hot chocolate with a side of CBD.

By now, you’ve probably heard of THC’s even cooler cousin, CBD. I am a big proponent of CBD as a hygge-amplifier. There’s nothing better after a long day of work than coming home and taking a couple puffs of my CBD vape to shake off the day. It’s healthier than a glass of wine and it’s purpose is literally to make you less anxious. I’ll be writing a post about CBD next week so check back next week to learn more.

Remember, friends. Winter blues are completely normal, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer to push through them. I recommend trying these all at home, and would love to hear if any of these hygge-tastic activities work for you!