For many parts of the country, bitter cold temperatures and icy roads keep us hunkered down at home this time of year. We may find ourselves sitting in front of the fireplace wrapped in warm, fuzzy blankets sipping mugs of steamy hot cocoa. If you’ve indulged in simple pleasures such as these, you’ve experienced “hygge.”
Pronounced hue-guh, hygge is a Danish word. It doesn’t have an exact English translation, but roughly it means coziness. The website hyggehouse.com says you use the word hygge “when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.”
A key aspect of hygge is being present. As family caregivers, we often get caught up in the hectic day-to-day to-dos and don’t take the time to enjoy the little moments in life. To help you feel more hygge, here are some ideas you can do by yourself or with an aging loved one throughout the day:
- Morning – Embrace the simplest of rituals. Many us stumble to the coffee maker on autopilot every morning and brew a pot without much thought. Take time to enjoy the process – smell the grounds, listen to the drip and pour the coffee into your favorite cup. Then, sit quietly for a few minutes and slowly sip your java, noticing the complex flavors and the warmth it sends through your body.
- Afternoon – Take a leisurely walk. Put down the phone. Step away from the computer and if weather permits, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (even if it’s low in the sky). If you’re stuck indoors, a few laps down the hallway, some stretching and a little meditative breathing can do wonders for your mood and disposition.
- Evening – Curl up with a book. Put on your comfiest pajamas, sit in your favorite chair and maybe light a candle or grab a tasty beverage, and start reading. Whether you enjoy romance novels, biographies or sci-fi adventures, escaping into the pages of a good book is a great way to relax.
The Danes are often said to be some of the happiest people on earth. Maybe hygge has something to do with it? Next time the hustle and bustle of life starts to take over, think “hygge.” Slow down and take a minute (or two) to appreciate the little things: Indulge in that conversation. Gaze at the sunset. Enjoy that cup of tea. Whatever you have going on in your life, make a conscious effort to find something every day that puts a smile on your face.
In addition, if you find it challenging to find time for yourself, contact one of our local offices and inquire about respite care. As they say, you can’t fill from an empty cup. Respite care can provide family caregivers time away from their caregiving duties to rest and recharge. Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your loved one live the best life possible.