February always seems to be picked on. The merry month of December has been left in the dust (or shall I say, snow?) and we’re too busy starting second semester in January to realize that it has already whizzed by. It’s in February that suddenly things slow down, homework piles up, and sometimes, you feel just as sullen as the trampled on snow.
I’ve found getting my way through the month is not by clenching my teeth, squinting my eyes and barrelling through the rest of winter with fingers crossed. I simply take it one day at a time, or at least that’s what I tell myself. With a little bit of faith.
One of the ways I’ve learned to embrace February is through hygee. The concept was introduced to me by my mom. It’s a Danish lifestyle centred around comfort. The word can barely be translated to English. It promotes balance and happiness throughout all areas of life, specifically highlighting how the little things are what provoke happiness.
There’s something to hold onto as inspiration in February; try focusing on the small things and before you know it, all those big things will fall into place (albeit, a bit haphazardly sometimes.)
As a way to practice hygee, and also as a bit of a distraction from my monotonous History lecture right now, I’ve compiled a list of ideas, activities, thoughts and events I consider hygee this month.
“We are social creatures, and the importance of this is clearly seen when one compares the satisfaction people feel in relationships with their overall satisfaction with life. The most important social relationships are close relationships in which you experience things together with others, and experience being understood; where you share thoughts and feelings, and both give and receive support. In one word: hygge.”
― Meik Wiking,
Play That Song – Train (a funky song that gets me through these Carleton tunnels as I rush to class)
O’Children – Nick Cave (sourced from the Harry Potter movie, a great tune to mellow out to)
Grow Old with Me – Tom Odell (a feel-good song that reminds me of the greatness to come)
All Night – Beyonce (a song that makes me feel powerful, phenomenal music video)
Electric Pow Wow – A Tribe Called Red (wonderful band to appreciate Indigenous talent and also, a rad workout song)
Wait – M83 (so emotional, I can barely get through it without crying, awesome to do a light yoga session with)
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran (for when I’m putting on my makeup for my 8:30 class)
“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” – Humphry Davy
One of the simplest ways to embrace hygee is by making yourself a cozy drink. My favourite lately has been a turmeric tea (also known as golden milk). As one of my Christmas gifts, my mom was able to get some authentic turmeric (picked and ground in India by one of her coworkers). Slipping into cozy sucks, snuggling up with a book and sipping on a warm drink is the epitome of hygee.
“People think of these eureka moments and my feeling is that they tend to be little things, a little realisation and then a little realisation built on that.” – Roger Penrose
A Warming Scent
One of the main goals of hygee is to find comfort in the winter months. A hibernation of sorts, a time to turn inward and inhale. Lately I’ve been trying to focus on this word “inhale” as a mantra. Inhale positivity, unique experiences and most importantly, yummy scents.
During the Christmas break my mom practiced this form of hygee by throwing together some cinnamon sticks and orange slices in simmering water (check out the featured image of this article!) The aroma was very subtle at first, spicy and sweet at the same time. After a while of simmering though, the scent was wafting through the whole house. Every inhale was hygee.
I love fresh fruit and light salads as side dishes. But for those chilly months, the best thing to see from behind the frosted window is…the pizza delivery man. Embracing one of your favourite family comfort meals is a good way to incorporate an element of hygee into your life. Whether you enjoy dim-lighting at your favourite restaurant or long drawn-out homemade meals, February is the perfect time to celebrate this simplicity. For some Scandinavian -inspired meals, check this article out.
Finally, can a post (or even a day) end without chocolate? I’m a huge advocate for savoury, salty foods (potato chips are my favourite indulgence,) but lately I’ve been noticing a sweet tooth. I honour my body and with these chocolate spoons I can satisfy my cravings, and satisfy my soul (because I made them with my family!)
My grandma, mom, twin sister and I came together for a night of chocolate-melting, sprinkle dipping and…a lot of spoon licking. My grandma brought all the supplies. Crushed candy canes, Hershey’s kisses, Nutella, milk chocolate, white chocolate and (*inhale*) cookie butter. After several of my failed attempts at melting chocolate (burnt chocolate chips still taste pretty good, right?) we managed to have a table-full of edible spoons sleeping on parchment paper.
As I write this post I’m sipping on hot cocoa, stirred with a cookie butter-filled, white chocolate covered, rainbow-sprinkle dusted spoon. How else would I make it through the chilly, Ottawa February?
For more resources on embracing the hygee lifestyle, click here.