Winter is the perfect time of year to embrace hygge. After all, even if you absolutely adore winter, you’re still going to want to have those times where you’re all cozy and warm and snuggly buggly right? If you’re just starting to consider hygge in your life, remember, it’s more of an attitude than a to do list.
These suggestions aren’t meant to complicate your life or add any stress to it. Instead, hygge is a way of cultivating joy, peace, and all of the best parts of life that make it all worth living! Try embracing winter hygge and see if it makes a difference for you.
IDEAS FOR EMBRACING WINTER HYGGE
Assemble tea, coffee, hot cocoa mix, and even hot apple cider mix all in one spot so it’s easier to have a warm beverage to warm up on a chilly day. Add in a kettle or Keurig, mugs, spoons, jars of sugar, honey, marshmallows, candy canes or peppermint sticks, and anything else you’d like to use with your drinks. I even include a jar of powdered milk and a couple types of powdered coffee creamers so it’s a one stop spot for a cozy cup.
Put together some cozy kits around the house.
I like to have a basket of afghans, throws, cardigans, wraps, cozy socks, and slippers in my bedroom (at arm’s length so I can get all snuggled up and warm before even getting out of bed!) and in the living room (with lots of extras so my guests can help themselves if they’re feeling chilly). You can add some soothing hand and foot creams, lip balms (obviously I only add these to my personal basket), and any other items to add comfort to a cold winter’s day.
Put your heat and lights on timers.
No more waking up to a cold house (you DO turn the heat down at night, right? It’s much healthier for you!) or returning home to one. Have your heat and lights on timers (or use a new-fangled app to control them) so that you’re saving energy while still remaining comfortable.
Use some wintery essential oils to add a lovely scent to your home.
During the winter, the air starts to feel stale to me in my home. I have been known to pop open a window or two for a little bit (bundle up first!) to let in some fresh air and get rid of the stale (possibly germ-ridden) air even in the winter. However, that’s not as practical when it’s truly bitter cold outside and when there’s a baby living here.
Essential oils can help to freshen up our living space – rosemary, eucalyptus, fir, balsam, cloves, cinnamon, orange, lemon, frankincense are all good choices this time of year. I like to diffuse them daily as well as adding them to my homemade cleaners.
Pamper your winter skin.
Oh my poor poor dry winter skin. My elbows are cracking, my hands are feeling parched, and my feet feel a little bit like sandpaper (TMI?). I reapply creams and lotions all day long in an attempt to keep them as moisturized as possible.
For a special intensive treatment, I like to indulge in a good foot soak. Use Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils if desired. After your skin has softened up a bit, use a purchased foot scrub or homemade sugar scrub to slough away dead skin cells. Follow up by massaging in (take your time – it is amazing how much tension we hold in our feet!) a heavy foot cream. I first use Avon’s heavy duty foot cream. You apply it and then wrap your feet in plastic bags and warm towels. Once the towels have cooled off, I follow up with Udderly Smooth’s Shea Butter Foot Cream (I use this every night before bed too). Then I put socks on to help the cream really soak in overnight.
You can do something similar for your hands as well! I have yet to find anything that helps my elbows – do let me know in the comments below if you’ve found a solution for super dry elbow skin!
Make some comfort food.
Hearty stews, soups, and casseroles are perfect meals on a winter day. They warm you up from the inside out and there is just something about them that makes you feel like you’re being wrapped up in a warm cozy blanket. Some of our favorites are Beef Bourgignon (make it with alcohol-free wine if you prefer), Chicken Cassoulet, Chili, Chicken and Dumplings, and Pierogi Casserole.
Care for your home.
Who says that housekeeping can’t be a way of embracing hygge in your home? When I’m rushed for time, housework seems like drudgery. Well okay, I’ll be honest. Cleaning toilets and litter boxes is ALWAYS something I dread. But for many other tasks, if I approach it as almost meditative, it can actually be pleasant.
Take your time with your tasks when you can. Let yourself listen to some beautiful music or just get lost in your thoughts. Or, focus on the experience and be really mindful about what you’re doing.
This is the time of year that I make sure to polish my wooden furniture to add some moisture to it. The air is dry in my home during the winter and I have quite a few antique pieces that are family heirlooms. The furniture can become quite dry and cracks can form so it’s important to take care of it.
As I polish the wood, I focus on the beauty of the pieces and their craftsmanship. I think about the connection to generations of our family. I let myself enjoy the process as I remind myself that I am continuing to preserve the wood and protect these heirlooms for future generations.
Really embrace the season and head outside for some winter activities!
Gather some friends and family together and head out for a day of ice skating or cross country skiing. Maybe you’d prefer snowshoeing or dog sledding (this is on my bucket list!).
You can bring along thermoses of soup or chili and hot cocoa or mulled cider or head back to your home to share a meal together in the cozy warmth.
Invite friends over for a board game or card game night.
We spend much more time indoors in the winter so why not take advantage of this by inviting some friends over for a fun evening? Once the holidays are over, many people have more free time so ward off cabin fever with some conversation and fun.
Take up a new craft or hobby.
Perhaps you could start on a knitting or crocheting project. I’m trying to revive a tradition my grandmother had of making us all slippers every year for Christmas. You could work on some small projects or start something bigger like a sweater or an afghan. Relaxing and enjoyable and you can get a head start on gifts for next Christmas!
Or make it a group activity and put together a good old-fashioned quilting bee. Make quilts for friends who are getting married or having babies or to donate to a charity.
Light some candles.
Or use some battery operated candles if you’re concerned about safety. Either way, the glow of candlelight can not only add more light to a dark season, but it brings us those feel-good emotions of being safe, cozy, and at peace.
Read a good book.
Once again, this tends to be a quieter time of year so it’s a great time to pick up a new book. Choose something you’ve wanted to read for ages or reach for something different from what you’d normally pick (I’ve started reading Ravenmaster about the ravens of the Tower of London and their Ravenmaster). You can see my favorite books of 2018 here.
Don’t forget to get all comfy while you’re reading. You might want a mug of hot cocoa or a glass of mulled wine to sip as you read. Warm throws or wraps will add to that cozy feeling. Bonus points if you can curl up in front of the fireplace as you read.
Don’t have one? Look for some local places that might serve your purpose – our Williams Coffee Pub down the street has a fireplace and it’s a great place to buy a London Fog and read for a while. Some libraries have fireplaces too. Have a look around and you might find just the right place. Or just turn on the fireplace channel on your TV – the crackling sounds will almost have you believing you’re in front of a real fire!