It’s Self Care Week – and this year’s theme is to exercise self care for life. Clinical Hypnotherapist Sam Grainger, for her column this month, gets her pyjamas on and explores the comfy concept of hygge
It’s that time of year: the clocks have gone back; the nights are drawing in and many of our favourite animals are bedding down to hibernate for the winter. If you are like me, you’ll get home and immediately change into your comfy pyjamas. Not everyone embraces this change, and some people can feel incredibly low in mood at this time of year. This type of depression is known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) – symptoms begin in the autumn and continue until the spring and can worsen as the winter progresses. It is important not to ignore the symptoms.
So how do you know you have SAD?
- Feeling sad and listless each day
- Decreased energy levels
- Sleeping too much
- Inability to concentrate
- Reduced concentration
- Overeating/comfort eating
It is important to look after yourself and ensure you are being available for self care. So, what should you do? I have been exploring the concept of hygge, pronounced “Hoo-ga”. The tradition stems from the long dark nights in Scandinavia. Hygge was developed in Norway in the 16th century, and stems from the word hugga – to comfort.
So is it time for us to embrace hygge? This Danish term refers to cosiness, contentment and feelings of wellbeing. Hygge is the way the Danes care for themselves in winter and it’s an excellent way to ensure we build self-care into our time.
Hygge is about living in the moment, and being relaxed, escaping for a time from everything that is going on in the outside. It is cosiness and surrounding yourself with all the things that make you feel good outside and in. It embraces warmth, light and enjoying the simple things in life. It is about living in the moment and being grateful and present.
In winter, in Denmark, they may light lots of candles to create the relaxing atmosphere. There are even clothes that are hygge and these are comfy sweaters and comfortable pants. Not something you would normally wear out, but complete comfort.
Hygge can also be:
- Immersing yourself in an enjoyable book
- Enjoying comforting food with friends
- Getting a cosy blanket and snuggling down
- Having time to yourself
- Winter swimming or a mindful walk outside
- Most importantly, it is about spending time with others and all being together enjoying the same space.
All these self-care ideas are hygge, it is all the things that make you feel good, it is happy moments and taking time out to pay attention to those around us. We often forget to do this in modern society we are so driven to be constantly busy.
“Hygge is all about being in the moment, feeling completely relaxed and centred, letting go of the hectic world around you, either alone or with loved ones. Hygge time in Scandinavia is enjoyed after a busy day of activity. No phones and computers allowed in these magical moments.” Ole Henrikson (12 October, 2018)
I wonder if hygge would help with those feelings of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) I am quite sure that they would. Embrace your hygge, take a moment to think what hygge would mean to you, and let me know. I would love to hear your answers.
Visit Free the Mind Hypnotherapy in Norfolk. Self Care Week, organised by The Self Care Forum, is an annual national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations. Exercise Self Care for Life is the theme for 2022.