The world is an unsettling place right now. That is why, perhaps now more than ever, your home should be your safe haven. Enter the Danish concept and practice of Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah). Hygge means, simply, "cozy". But, in practice, the word embodies a rather deeper meaning. For the Danes, Hygge could be described as the practice of being in and enjoying the present moment; Of appreciating simplicity; Of embodying positivity while eschewing drama and negativity; Of prioritizing responsibilities and, particularly, creating time for friends and loved ones.
With Hygge and our "Safe Haven" in mind, here are four simple and effective ways to bring peace and positivity to your home and heart.
Clear The Clutter
Hygge is about simple pleasures. Being surrounded by clutter, disorganization, and mess can provoke anxiety and take all the pleasure out of what could be a relaxing afternoon. Take this opportunity to clear out and clean out. Clean and organize closets, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinets. Toss old items, expired items, duplicate items, damaged and broken items, items that haven't seen the light of day in two (or more) years. Like Marie Kondo suggests, keep only the things that actually bring you pleasure or that you absolutely need. Seasonal items and sentimental pieces you don't have room for need to be organized and moved into storage. Everything else should be donated or thrown away. You can also use this time to review your finances and policies. Getting "your affairs in order" is an excellent way to achieve peace of mind even if it seems overwhelming at first. Put together a debt payment plan. Write a will. Check to ensure your insurance policies still make sense for your life and family's needs. Clear out your email Inbox and unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Do what you can to eliminate clutter and anxiety-producing elements from your home.
Now that your home is simplified, it would be very Hygge of you to cozy things up-- just a bit. Add a vase of flowers or a house plant to a sunny corner, splurge on an ultra-soft throw blanket for your couch or new sheets for your bed, light a few candles, treat yourself to bath salts and a hot bath. Start a garden bed in your backyard. Heck, adopt a pet that can offer cuddles and comfort. The point is to create warmth and serenity in whatever way is meaningful to you. My mother would probably say that, for her, warmth and serenity is hot coffee, a fire in the fireplace, a phone call from her children, and a good alarm system.
Clear Your Mind
With your personal space in high-Hygge mode, it is a good idea to clear your mind of clutter too. Listening to music, reading, napping, and running, are great ways to press the mental reset button. However Yoga and meditation are, in my opinion, the most effective means to clear your mind of negativity, judgment, anxiety, and to re-align with your innermost yourself-- which is in essence-- loving, beautiful, complete, and clear . In so doing, you can effectively re-prioritize your needs, activities, time, and relationships. With the regular introspection and self-love that yoga and meditation can bring, you may find the will and desire to eliminate (or at least limit) any toxic relationships you have in your life. You may also find a healthy way to deal with the emotions related to these tumultuous times. At the very least, you may sleep better at night, ready to take on the next day with panache!
Share Your Space
Surrounding ourselves with positive people can be the best medicine for anyone seeking solace. By inviting loved ones into your home, you are sharing your cozy new space and zen-like status with others who may need the good Hygge vibes. In that spirit, keep entertaining simple. Invite friends over for tea and cookies or quiche and coffee (or open a bottle of vino) and strive to create conversation that is meaningful and uplifting. Make your family a pot of soup and serve it with some hot bread while you each share the best thing about your day. Take time to read to your little one under the ultra-soft throw blanket you splurged on. Sharing your space isn't just sharing your physical surroundings, but offering yourself to those around you.