Despite being someone who genuinely looks forward to each forthcoming season & all that comes with it, this years Autumn has been decidedly different and it’s no coincidence.
Since stumbling on an article about hygge online, intrigued by the concept, I’ve been participating in a self inflicted mini side – project. Is it possible to import hygge and live it and breathe it in the mizzle of Cornwall, England? A land where beaches are golden, sea is turquoise and most life goes on in the summer?
Now these past days have been exceptionally rainy. Little chance of many walks through crunchy leaves, wrapped up in chunky woollen knits and after a particularly wet summer that curtailed our camping trip, we’d be forgiven for seeking sunnier climes. It has been a whole lot more palatable to be “stuck inside” on these grey days and despite being at a high but stressful point in my career, I swear this has been one of my happiest months in a long time and here’s why.
As a family, we’ve spent a lot of time around our fire, in the same room. Even our thirteen year old daughter has joined us each evening and we’ve all raced to bag the best seat in the house, a tub leather Chesterfield arm chair right beside the fire. Our nine year old has encouraged us to play more board games together with hot chocolate or mulled cider for the grown ups and we’ve enjoyed many shared bedtime stories. It’s not that we didn’t regularly do these things before but this time there had been a real focus on being present, recognising priorities and really relishing in just “being.”
Outside of the home, I’ve played netball for years, but this month I’ve really got my mojo back and thrown myself into team spirit and back into the game itself. Partly spurred on by a fear of being too sedentary but mostly by learning that per “A Year of a living Danishly”, one of the (many) reasons that the Danes are so content is because they take part in clubs and societies. So this month I’ve done so with more gusto than before and more than a “you’ll be alright when you get there” mentality. My stamina and endurance has been given a boost, resulting in some wins and a real competitive buzz alongside the adrenalin. I’ve made sure too that my girls have attended their weekly swims with the local surf club where we’ve swapped our summer Saturday mornings on the beach for dark and dreary trips to a pool in a deserted holiday camp, which are admittedly a struggle to attend. The clubs festive year end party reinforces just how good it is to be part of a something with a common focus on team spirit, exercise and camaraderie and I am grateful to those who put so much effort behind the scenes.
Most significantly, I’ve looked forward to coming home from the day job which sadly hasn’t always been the case. Marital niggles and everyday responsibilities have been given the perspective they deserve and our home has become the safe haven it always should have been; wonderful when cabin fever could easily have set in as a result of increased togetherness. There’s much more calm about the place. Less arguments, not just between myself and Mr Hygge but also between our daughters who’ve been willing Guinea pigs in the living hygge project. Admittedly it didn’t take much persuasion for them to enter into something that involved candles, hot chocolate and blankets but when Mum suggests something, it can often be dismissed “just because.”
Less times on screens and laptops (although I do admit to spending more time on Twitter than ever before) have brought the girls back out of their respective shells and for me, I’ve found a creative freedom I’ve never experienced before through blogging. I’m less worried about what people think (albeit not brave enough to reveal myself completely) and that in itself has been liberating. I’ve met a local fellow blogger who I hope will become a friend in time and I’ve learnt a bit about WordPress which will help the day job. My much loved sister is also keen to come aboard and with the distance between us (she lives in Germany) & her web skills I’m hoping she’ll be hooked and it will give us something pan European to work on together.
What’s not been so good? Well, I’d love to say it hasn’t been a distraction from said day job and I’m mindful of what pays the bills, but am in no doubt that it has been a sort of therapy and balancing the stress that is evident in my normal everyday and that has to be better for all concerned.
My step counter has declined drastically, albeit fortunately outweighed by more effort in netball, but that too is something I’m going to work on as I’m conscious that piling on the pounds will only lead to misery, sadly, but true.
I’m interested to see how the shift in focus away from materialistic pursuits such as shopping might affect my bank balance and I’d love to extend my passion for hygge interiors to the workplace. I’m also going to use the next month as an excuse to make contact with old friends and make sure that I send handwritten Christms cards to all those who matter.
On a wider scale its great to see the hygge concept gain momentum over the web and work its magic across Twitter. One thing that society really could benefit from is a more acute recognition of doing what makes you feel good (within reason!) and that most importantly, it’s can largely be achieved for free, admittedly when I live in a house that already has a real fire. But it’s not just about fires and candles. One thing for sure is that hygge is not just for Danes & as far as I’m concerned not just for one month only. I think we’ll need it more than ever when the new year bleakness kicks in, when more atrocities unfold that threaten peace in our world and I’m looking forward to finding and living hygge in the warmer months ahead to prove that hygge isn’t just for winter either. It’s a philosophy and a way of life all year round and with the spirit of gratitude I’d say “thank you Denmark. It has been a blast.”