Crisp air, colorful leaves, pumpkins on each doorstep and the scent of cinnamon wafting through our home. Not to sound too “basic”, but Autumn truly is my favorite season. In Minnesota, the temperatures took a quick a drastic turn early on, leaving many of us feeling as though we’ve missed precious moments of an all-ready too short season. It’s been a sobering reminder of what’s just around the corner, colder days and longer nights that last well into the new year. Enter hygge! Pronounced hoo-guh, this Danish term roughly translates to a feeling of peace and contentment brought on by creating a warm environment for yourself. While hygge can be practiced year-round, the concept is especially useful in combating cabin fever during Fall, Winter, and Spring (or second Winter, as we like to call it around here). Ready or not, here the snow comes so why not hunker down and try embracing all that is cozy with hygge?
Start with your space
Set the stage for the long, cold evenings with a simple and functional design updates:
Layer for warmth! Nothing embodies cozy quite like cuddling up on the couch in a sea of pillows and blankets. Usually this is reserved for sick days, why? Pull your extras out of the closet or pick up a couple of inexpensive ones like these. When not in use, casually drape over furniture or roll into a basket for easy access. As an added bonus, you’ll likely find that you can turn the thermostat down a couple of notches.
Turn the lights down low. Candles and/or string lights make everything feel just a little magical. I use a mix of scented, unscented, and battery-operated for safety purposes and to ensure that the fragrances don’t get overwhelming. Hobby Lobby often has sales on all types. My favorite scents there are Vintage Luxe, Madagascar Vanilla & Cedar, and Tobacco Leaf & Sage. If you prefer a more natural route, essential oil diffusers are a great option that adds a little extra moisture to the air. Check out Pinterest for a variety of fall and winter scent “recipes”.
Cut the clutter and replace with memories. The change in season is always a perfect time to reevaluate and reduce your clutter, especially before adding holiday décor to the mix. Our basic space is pretty minimal, keeping mostly to the accessories mentioned above along with indoor plants that purify the air and a few sentimental pieces that simply bring us joy. I’ve found that this clean approach really helps keep our home feeling fresh, thwarting cabin fever.
Keep your connections
Between the holiday buzz, snow days and more, It can be easy to lose touch with even the best of friends. Gather a few friends in your new “hygge-ish” (is that a word? I’m making it a word) space for a night in. Trade phones for fuzzy socks at the door and enjoy some unplugged time together. Whip up a couple of Danish dishes to really set the theme or ask everyone to bring their favorite comfort food to dine by candlelight. Any activity will do—card/board games, cheesy movies, crafts, whatever sounds fun. A friend and I even hosted a closet swap party, which was something different and a total blast!
Create a new evening ritual
Don’t just Netflix and couch it again, create an evening ritual you can’t wait to come home to! This has been a total game changer in tolerating and maybe even actually enjoying the early nights. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Trade the laptop for a journal. Do you do a lot of late night work? Can certain aspects be taken off of the screen? Though the bulk of my work utilizes technology, I’ve moved all of my preliminary brainstorming and writing to paper. This simple change is so helpful for not only remaining on task (Pinterest rabbit holes, be gone!), but also improving your sleep cycle.
Make chores more enjoyable. Don’t laugh now! Washing the dishes is never necessarily “fun”, but dimming the lights just a little, lighting your favorite candle and playing either some soft music or a new podcast helps! Just try it.
Self-care takes center stage. Rushed morning showers your thing? Move it to the evening and take extra time to savor it. Even if you don’t had loads of time to indulge in a full-on spa night, update your routine with a quick dry brush before hopping in to improve circulation and provided much-needed exfoliation. Play a guided-meditation for ultimate relaxation and don’t forget the lotion on your way out!! The greatest part about this? Getting to sleep in an extra 10 minutes in the morning 😊
Make a cozy, sleep-inducing beverage. This is my new favorite; sweet enough to curb cravings without the excess sugar of a normal snack that’ll wake you up at 2am.
Embrace the “slow down”
If you’ve been reading this post thinking “this all sounds so relaxing”, you’re absolutely right (that’s kind of the point). We go hard all summer long to squeeze every bit of fun into those short months and then jump right into back-to-school routines and holiday preparation. No wonder we’re spinning by the new year and finding it harder than ever to wind down. Use this time to slow your mind and body through reflection. Perhaps that means skipping the gym for a bundled hike to hear yourself think or taking a new class that blends physical activity, socialization and self-exploration. There are actually lots of local options such as Sacred Circle’s yoga + classes, meditation at Assisi Heights, and a variety of artful events at Canvas and Chardonnay. If you prefer a process that allows you to stay in, try creating a mood board on paper or Pinterest (here’s mine, which I also use as seasonal capsule collection inspiration). Search a variety of key words that relate to feelings you want to cultivate this season, creating a great visual way to set intentions and organize your thoughts.
Although definitely part of the manifesto, hygge is not just lighting a candle and throwing on fuzzy socks, it is a lifestyle shift that invites us to closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted, connected, and simply content.
Have a simply beautiful day! xoxo- Samantha