From smartphones to streaming videos to food delivery apps, we’ve really got it made. But you’ll often hear people say “I feel anxious”, “I’m depressed”, or the most common, “I’m stressed”. With the year we all had in 2020, these feelings are more prevalent than ever.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and so many of its side effects has us all feeling stressed out, sad, and depressed, so let’s embrace the idea of influencing and choosing our mood. One sure way to do that is to make your home (or office) environment a positive and comfortable place.
Cozying up at home can be great for not only your physical health, but also your mental well-being. Thanks to the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), researchers have learned that embracing coziness and life’s little pleasures can improve overall happiness.
Need proof? Danes are considered some of the happiest people in the world, according to the 2017, 2018 and 2019 World Happiness Reports.
“I think of hygge as mindfulness wrapped in a blanket,” says Lauren Garvey, MS, CRC, NCC, a counselor and facilitator at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “The whole concept is geared toward contentment, being present and being comfortable in your body, mind and space. In our culture, we are often hustling and striving, moving forward at a fast pace. If you are practicing hygge, you are embracing presence over productivity.”
Hygge has a wide range of benefits. It can:
- Increase happiness
- Decrease the adrenal stress response, resulting in fewer cortisol spikes
- Help you be present in the moment
- Improve your self-care and self-love
- Increase feelings of contentment over consumerism
- Combat inadequate coping strategies, such as spending excessive time online or watching television, drinking too much alcohol or using drugs
Here’s how to infuse hygge into your life:
- Embrace self-care. Light some candles and curl up in a comfy chair with a warm blanket, a book, your journal, a sweet treat, or your favorite hot beverage. “Hygge allows us to dedicate time to ourselves and give ourselves those joys and comforts as a gift,” she says. “When we were children, we often had adults comforting us, such as a parent tucking us in at night. You can do that for yourself when you practice self-compassion and self-care.” We talked about getting comfy with a book and scented candle in one of our previous blogs here: https://comfortcandlecompany.com/blogs/news-1/coffee-reflections-on-2020-and-our-2021-goal
- Practice self-compassion. “Let yourself be. Don’t be hard on yourself for not being productive in that moment or for having a sweet treat,” she says.
- Create a cozy environment. “When curating your home, think about the comfort factor,” suggests Garvey. “Surround yourself with whatever is going to help you feel more relaxed and supported.” This may mean removing unnecessary clutter and tidying up regularly, using lamps for a cozy feel, and selecting comfortable pillows and furniture, or lighting a soothing scented candle.
- Spend time in nature. Even in the winter, Danes take long walks and spend time outside. Spending time outdoors has proven stress-relieving benefits and can help you connect to something bigger than yourself. If you're able to, go for a walk around your neighborhood. One of the most commonly used stress-relieving fragrances is lavender. We LOVE the photo of the young woman who appears happy in the beautiful field of lavender attached to this blog!
- Connect with others. “Social support is an important aspect of health and well-being,” explains Garvey. “People who practice hygge surround themselves with family and friends. It’s about connecting with and enjoying each other’s company, not competing or impression management.” Spending quality time with others also boosts feel-good oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.” Note: Please practice practical social distancing norms during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- Slow down. If you allow yourself to slow down, you’ll relax your physiology and reduce your adrenal stress responses. “We know from mindfulness research that there are many health benefits to slowing down and being present in the moment,” Garvey says.
- Live in the moment. Hygge isn’t something you achieve, but rather a lifestyle. “You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to do life perfectly,” she says. “View life as a journey, not an end state.”
While the word hygge might be foreign to many Americans, the concepts are universal. As we said previously, creating a good mood or evoking a wonderful memory has become truly important to our well-being. Making a comforting and enjoyable home is something that should never go out of fashion!
Again, our goal for 2021 is simple…continue to grow our business that we believe in so strongly. Our company was founded in the beautiful little Texas hill country town of Comfort, and our origins and tagline say it all. We truly want you to HAVE COMFORT IN YOUR HOME!
Until February 9th at midnight, take 20% off all our White Lavender products with the code Lavender20 here.