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Why We Should All Embrace Hygge

The Danish concept of hygge has swept across the nation. In case you haven’t been caught up in it’s warmth, hygge is the sense of safety and belonging experienced through the people and things we love.

 

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Candles play a big part in the full hygge experience.

 

Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, prefers this atmospheric feeling to be at home and contain hot drinks and candles, but really it can be found anywhere. It is the scale on which Danish social gatherings are measured, by the hygge-ness. It is anticipated, appreciated and fondly remembered, and fosters an awareness of gratitude, something I think we could all use a little more of.

 

The Danish are known to be the happiest people on the planet and even kindly go so far as to scientifically research how to make the rest of the world happier; Wiking is also the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute (best job ever, right!). So surely there must be something to this hygge malarkey.

 

“[Hygge is] the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.”

 

Near the end of October as I was heading for a train out of London I was handed the week’s edition of Time Out (18-24th October 2016). The article inside entitled Hygge is a Waste of London clearly riled me enough to inspire me to write, as obvious by the fact you’re now reading this.

 

Granted the magazine is obviously aimed at Londoners, which makes me think that perhaps I was mistaken for one rather than the tourist vibe I usually emit. Taking this into account it’s understandable that the article argues that anything resembling comfort in a Hygge way in London is a waste in the city renowned for not being comfortable. For pushing boundaries and comfort zones and, as more people move there, space limitations. The author states that ‘nothing spectacular ever happened to someone when they were feeling cosy’.

 
However, who is to say that that is true? There are claims that Sir Issac Newton was drinking a cup of tea when he saw/was hit by the falling apple and discovered gravity. Hygge experiences are often described as including hot drinks and discovering gravity is nothing short of spectacular.

 
Elements of Hygge also feature in self-care advice; noticing the beauty in nature, quiet meditation, coffee with friends, doing anything with people you love, your favourite book (any book) in a cosy nook, a bubble bath…

 

The Eagle pub in Cambridge has a hygge atmosphere

Hygge in The Eagle pub, Cambridge

 

The original article was so London-centric in made my teeth ache; only encouraging an unrealistic mindset. Some people need to understand that an entire country carries on moving outside the boundaries of the underground zones, and far past where your Oyster stops working. Here, in the North, I’m writing this whilst sat alone in a coffee shop. I have a hot chocolate, a large scarf and I’m writing; I’m feeling pretty damn Hygge. I’m not being dull and complacent, nor am I not doing anything, as the article insinuated. I am Hygge whilst grabbing life by the proverbial balls. Who says it’s impossible, Londoners! So kindly widen your capital-centric mindset past the Big Smoke, consider that the rest of the country do not laze in blanketed ‘dull complacency’, and that enjoying every and all aspects of life is possible outside of the busy London lifestyle.

 

What is important is that hygge is an atmosphere, an experience and a shared feeling. Perhaps it is on your sofa, with Netflix and hot cocoa by candlelight.  Perhaps it is covered in mud with your friends in the middle of watching your favourite band at a festival. Or singing in your car, by the fire in the local, or the sting of the breath-stealing cold breeze on your Christmas day walk. Brunch with the girls, trying out that new restaurant, anything which makes you forget time still moves.

 

Time Out have also published another response to the article, Hygge is Part of London, (originally published here) a Danish Londoner defending the lifestyle amidst the onslaught of media attention and the perpetual busyness of London.  She writes that “Your hygge is your own.

 

As the stresses of modern life slowly suck at our soul’s will we could all use a little more self-care for our own well-being. So perhaps hygge is purely an extension of this, in which case I welcome it with open arms.

Because anything that can help ensure our mental and physical well-being is worth spending a little time under a blanket for.

 

Whatever hygge is, it is our own vivid experience.

 

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Learning to embrace the hygge that comes my way.


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Brand New Flexi-Feature!

 

We all know that Mondays are horrific. 

 

 

The start of a brand new week can feel daunting and those 48 hours of freedom from adult responsibilities are a lifetime away. These feelings are especially heightened if you had an amazing weekend. Perhaps you’ve caught up with friends and family, had a little party for no occasion, or simply chilled out with your dog. Whatever you have done, your weekend was probably perfect.

 

 

But reflect on Mondays in a different way, and you start to see them in a whole new light. Think of a Monday morning as a fresh start, a week full of opportunity for productivity. Starting the week in an appreciative and productive mind frame sets you up for feel-good days and restful nights!

 

 

Welcome to week one of my new feature: Mindful Mondays

  
 

 

It is my aim to direct your attention to activities to keep you mindful, appreciative, and living in the present moment. It is a gift, after all. 

 

 

 

Considering my poor track record in keeping up to date with blog features, my plan is to have these Mindful Mondays as a Flexible Feature (Flexi-feature?). I’m a big believer in the blogger advice to only write when you’re feeling inspired, so please bare with my writer’s block.
Cheers!


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Mastering Mindfulness

In my eternal quest to better myself baby step by baby step, last week I bought a Little Book Of Mindfulness. 
It is pocket sized, like all good things, ombré shades of green, and has a ribbon page marker. 
  

Inside my little book, Mindfulness is defined as simply as taking a few minutes out each day to focus solely on your breathing (inhale now…and exhale). And as complexly as learning to be content in the very present moment, without worrying or lingering on the past or future. 

In our increasingly busy lifestyles, juggling fast-paced education and careers, hobbies, friends, family, and keeping up with social networking, I know I find it hard to think only of the present moment. It is easy to let our minds wander and worry. 

By taking a few moments each day, while the kettle boils or before you fall asleep, you can de-stress, boost immunity and aid productivity. Concentrating on that singular moment, stopping what you are doing and focus on what is around you; the sensations, smells, sounds, and your breathing, you can learn to enjoy the smaller things in life we so often take for granted. 

I am trying to make the effort to turn away from the hectic world and learn to be more mindful for just a few minutes every day. 
I challenge you to try it too! Let me know how you get along! 

Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the Present.” – Bil Keane


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Stress Less Week

This week is Stress Less Week in conjunction with Active Minds. Seven days of taking action and raising awareness of stress, anxiety and encouraging the idea that speaking out about your troubles is a sign of strength and self-awareness.

 

5 tips for battling stress:

  1. Exercise – whether you’re a hardcore marathoner, or more of a stroll in the park sort
  2. Talking to friends and family – connecting with your family and friends can help relieve your stress
  3. Striving for your best, not idealized ‘perfection’ – being perfect isn’t possible, so be your best self
  4. Eat well – a healthy diet can aid lessening stress and anxiety
  5. Get some perspective – think about your situation and whether it is as bad as you think, or if you might be blowing it out of proportion

 

#SelfCareSelfie

 

Active Minds are also promoting Self-Care Selfies (#SelfCareSelfie) to share with others your self-care methods.

Join the sharing on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Here are some pictures of my self-care methods!

Exercise, keeping tidy, tea and ice cream and walks in the sunshine all help me unwind.

 

Join in and share with me in the comments what methods of self-care you use?

Read more about it here and here.

Cheers!


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Inspiration

Inspiration 

inspiration
ɪnspɪˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Last week, I attended an inspirational lecture by Doctor Tanya Byron; the Chancellor or my University and clinical psychologist. She spoke so passionately and animatedly about her work, going off in great detailed tangents but always returning to her original point and captivating her audience. 

In short, she is precisely who aspire to be in thirty years!

The fickle thing about inspiration is that it can take so many variable forms. From other people and their life stories, to simply great ideas shared through social media; Pinterest is a great go-to for inspiration for everything from deep thought to hair styles. 

Yet it is always best to take your sense of inspiration from others and apply it to yourself. 

Inspired by a number of Instagram people I follow and their get-fit, couch-to-5k journeys, two months ago I signed up to a 5km race around my local village. 

I wouldn’t call myself a couch potato. More of a fair weather jogger and occasional gym user when the whim arose. But after training myself properly for two months; with a mix of road running and the gym every other day I build up my stamina and physique.

On Sunday I completed my 5km race with a Personal Best time of 34:47!

My point is this; I took my inspiration and applied it to myself. With determination and will power you can achieve whatever you want. 

It’s totally fine if what you want that day is to simply get dressed, because I know there are days when that takes a great deal of determination and will power too. Heck, every morning!

A more long term aspiration would be my career in psychology, but we will see…

Walt Disney puts it more succinctly: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Cheers


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2015: Resolutions and Races

New year. New me….

Scrap that idea, I’m perfect. This is resolution number one; self belief.

Yes, it is that time of year again when the streets are filled with new runners, battling the bulge of their post Christmas tummies, and everyone is writing about resolutions. The majority of which will be broken by the dawn of February.

This year I have set myself some goals. This includes a 5km race on 1st March which I am in training for. I hope to run for a local mental health charity called Wirral Mind to raise Mental Health awareness. Resolution number two is improving my split kilometre times.

I am also challenging myself to write something unrelated to university work everyday. I have found a website with daily writing prompts on, and if I am particularly happy with one I might even share in here with you, dear reader. Resolution number three lies herein; write and be proud of that writing.

Christmas was spent with my family, playing our own version of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In the week between Christmas and New Year we managed to visit the extended family for fun and food all together. Time with friends is always crucial too.

I wish you a very happy and successful 2015, whatever your plans, dreams and ambitions. Let’s prove me wrong and keep those resolutions going!!

Cheers!

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