I’m from Barranquilla, a city in Colombia that is at 30 degrees right now while Manchester is at 4. There was no such thing as winter for me while growing up. The truth is, the first time I saw snow was when I twenty-one years old, my mom, who was standing next to me, was forty-something. All this for saying that surviving winter for me is no easy task. I hate waking up in the morning and knowing that if I go out, my hands will turn bright red or that at four pm on the dot, it will starting getting dark.
On my trip to Denmark, this year was the first time I came across the word “Hygge.” I was in a friend’s dinner party, and a Danish girl was saying that she didn’t know how people around the world survived without it. She talked about how important it was to fill the room with candles, cozy blankets and things that made a place feel special. I didn’t give it much thought until months later, more specifically now, when most mornings I just want to curl up in bed and drink hot chocolate all day. Since I can only do that on weekends, the Danish concept “Hygge” has been a great help during those long-ass-week days.
VisitDenmark says that “hygge” is creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying good moments with the people that are most important to you. This practice is not only for when you’re at home; you could use this concept in a traffic jam (ugh!) or at home after a bad day (red wine, anyone?). Another thing that I should mention is that “hygge” can be things too, a nice meal with friends or on your own, a thing as simple as a good-smelling candle or crying after a happy ending on a movie. Everything can be that happy place. It’s all about taking care of yourself and knowing when to pour yourself a glass of wine(or two) and wrap up in three blankets!
Quick recap here: hygge is all about the little things. For example, this winter a friend helped me to decorate my room with candles and fairy lights. I didn’t invest a lot of money on this, and every time I turn on the fairy lights, I feel cozier because it reminds me of how much fun I had setting the whole thing up.
But, what about the rainy or snowy days? Well, those are no so easy to bare, hygge or no hygge, the important thing here is to be willing to turn your day around. If you have no energy to go out and you don’t have anything urgent to do, then don’t! Take that Saturday/Sunday to read a book and snuggle with your favorite blanket. If you have to go out, maybe wear that scarf that is super colorful or buy yourself a coffee on your way to work.
Surviving the winter with “hygge” in mind is for me about beating FOMO and forgiving myself a little. I don’t have to go out every day and I most definitely not wasting the best years of my life (as if there was such thing?) by spending a day in or skipping a run once (ok, maybe more than once). But basically, my point is, that you should do what makes this season more comfortable for you and do whatever makes it happier. Bottom line, invite friends more often, hit the cheese aisle weekly, pour over that red wine and invest in a Netflix subscription.
What about you, do you have any strategies for surviving the winter? Do you come from a hot place and are experiencing your first or second (like me!) winter? Let me know in the comments!