With the cold nights and darker days, this time of year can leave us feeling isolated, low and stressed. We generally get a lot less Vitamin D during the colder months and our energy levels and sleep patterns can also be disturbed as the seasons change. With this in mind, it’s no wonder so many of us feel stressed and anxious during autumn and winter… But there are things we can do to make this time of year better!
One of those things is embracing the Hygge way of life. To help you enjoy this season more and thrive through it, here are 5 simple ways to hygge your way through autumn (and winter).
What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh) is a Danish concept that roughly translates to ‘cosiness’ or feelings of warmness and contentment. It’s about creating a balanced lifestyle where you are taking care of your body and mind, creating time for yourself (not just for work or family), and finding moments of stillness in the chaos of everyday life. The idea is to create a mindful, balanced lifestyle and take time for self-care, whether that’s a bubble bath, a homemade meal, cuddling on the couch with your pup, curling up with a good book, a walk in the woods, or any other way you enjoy spending time. Cosiness doesn’t have to just be an autumn or winter thing, but it can help when we’re feeling stressed in the colder months.
How is Hygge Good for Stress?
Hygge is a way of being fully present in a moment and creating time for things you enjoy. Those who live a Hygge way of life generally have habits that make them feel warm, cosy and full of contentment – even when outside stressors try to take over. It can also help you add more healthy habits to your routine – like doing yoga or meditating, eating and sleeping well, and spending time in nature. All these things can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase your mood and self-esteem.
How to Hygge Your Way Through The Season
If you want to bring more warm and fuzzy feelings into the colder months, then here are five ways you can combat stress using Hygge practices.
1. Go On A Digital Detox
Are you someone who can’t put their phone down? Or someone who stays up too late scrolling through social media? Most of us can admit that we’re guilty of this! As social media and technology quickly become a normal part of our lives, more and more people are feeling the negative effects of stress and anxiety caused by it. Whether you’re on your phone for work or for play, it is a source of stress that can be easily avoided. And if you don’t feel like you have control over your usage and the stress it causes, you may want to consider a digital detox. Try completely removing yourself from all technology for a set period of time, whether it’s a few hours or a full week.
2. Boost Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps regulate mood, so it’s important to get enough of it during the colder months. Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to increased stress and anxiety, as well as a higher risk of depression. You can naturally boost your Vitamin D by spending time outside and enjoying all of the gorgeous colours in nature this season. As the days get shorter, it can be hard to get enough Vitamin D naturally through sunlight, so you may want to invest in a sun lamp to boost your intake.
3. Create An Autumn and/or Winter Routine
There are a lot of things that change in the colder months, which is why having a routine is so important for de-stressing and feeling in control. While it may have felt easy to wake up at 5am and go running in the summer, the darker mornings and chilly weather will likely make you want to curl up in bed instead.
Consider how to adapt your morning and evening routines to better embrace the seasons and the Hygge way of life. You can also use the changing of the seasons as an excuse to try something new, like yoga or meditation, or to do something that brings you joy, like baking, crafting, or curling up with a good book.
Read more: How to Create a Good Evening Routine for Better Sleep
4. Get Cosy
There’s something so peaceful and blissful about snuggling up during these colder months. Whether you are spending time alone or with loved ones, this time of year is a great excuse to light some candles and get cosy. It’s also a great time to hibernate with a good book, a warm drink, and some fluffy socks.
If you’re feeling stressed, it can help to breathe more slowly and deeply. This technique is called ‘mindful breathing’, and it can help you to slow down, centre yourself, and reduce feelings of anxiety. Try setting a timer for ten minutes, closing your eyes, and doing some slow, deep breathing to help you feel more relaxed and cosy. You can do this whenever you feel stressed, or even when you’re falling asleep at night.
5. Make Time For Self-Care
While it’s important to make time for loved ones, don’t forget to make time for yourself as well. This is especially important during the winter season when many of us are cooped up indoors more often and feel like there is never enough time in the day or for those who spend a lot of their time caring for others.
Where possible, try to fit at least one little break into your day. Try practising another Scandinavian tradition popular in Sweden, ‘Fika’. This is where you take just a short moment out of your day to pause, have a hot drink, and a delicious snack (we vote cake).
Hygge is an amazing stress-buster and it’s why our next challenge is a whole 30 Days of Hygge in November! We’ll go through 30 different Hygge-based practices and self-care techniques to bring in those feelings of warmness and contentment this season. Join the club to take part in November!