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Every year I experience a form of autumn-induced “nesting” as the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter. Unlike hormone-driven pregnancy, this is not a thing literacy the contents of the freezer and more about filling the house with everything soft, warm and cozy (and preferably also pumpkin-scented!).
Turns out I’m not alone. The Danes have been promoting this for a long time with their concept of fun. There are whole books, magazines and websites dedicated to the idea. But let’s be real … I don’t see too many pictures of houses full of children, diapers and legos!
Still, I think there should be, and these are some of my favorite natural and real ways of “hygiene” at this time of year.
What is Hygge?
According to the Copenhagen Happiness Research Institute, Danes are the happiest group of people in the world. Considering that the Scandinavian countries are some of the coldest countries (with little light in winters), it’s a bit surprising. Experts believe this a cause of disorder (Seasonal Affective Disorder) with little light in winter. But for the Danes, the low light in winter does not seem to cause these problems. This may be due to your lifestyle of enjoying simple things, or higge.
Hygge (pronounced “hue-guh”) simply means creating a sense of welcome, coexistence, and well-being. While this may seem idealistic, small touches can go a long way it can be very motivating.
Natural ways to energize (in real life)
Creating a sense of hygiene does not have to take much time, effort or money. These are some of my favorite ways to add a touch of natural comfort (and light) to your home.
Creating a more cozy place to relax can have a big impact on your mood, your family’s mood, and the overall feel of your home. That also doesn’t mean you have to buy a new sofa.
- Pillows – Pillows are not just for the bedroom or sofa. Create a cozy nook with some natural floor cushions, bean bags or yoga mats. They encourage movement and play for children and also make the perfect seat to play family board games around the center table.
- Throw blankets – Place them on the sofa or place them in a basket in each room. My kids love it softness of this blanket, but of course the options and styles are endless.
- Choose deep pile rugs – Choose one warm and cozy carpet to crush your toes! You even throw one over the back of a chair or on the couch.
Create small spaces
Add this hibernation feeling by creating small, cozy spaces in the house.
- Put a canopy on it! – Canopies create a comfortable space anywhere and in my opinion it shouldn’t be just for the game room. A burlap shop it’s another way to create a temporary cozy space without having to hang out.
- Hang hammocks or a sensory swing – It may seem unconventional, but we add hammocks and swings in children’s rooms for the sake of their vestibular systems (more information on this here), but they are also a relaxing place to hang out.
- Rearrange the furniture – Place the sofa next to the window for a cozy place with more light or move the furniture closer together to create a conversation space.
Add light and smell
Light plays an incredibly important role in our sleep / wake cycles and hormonal health in general. Attract all the senses with these hygienic touches:
- Light a candle – Nothing beats the light of real candles of beeswax candles.
- Himalayan salt lamps – Use salt lights like soft lighting around the house at night instead of an overhead light. You can even put it on a timer so it’s ready when you go to your bedroom at night or wake up early in the morning.
- Sunlight – Create a cozy place next to one portable light box or two to support the process of natural awakening on those dark winter mornings.
- Run a diffuser – I run essential oil diffusers in the house especially this kind of years. (But keep in mind safety around pets and children.)
- Make your own natural air freshener – That DIY spray for pumpkin room it’s my favorite to do this time of year.
Spending time in nature has real health benefits. Create the feeling of being away from home by incorporating natural materials such as wood, wicker and even stone.
- Live plants – My living plant wall it’s my absolute favorite form of year-round hygiene. The plants in the house bring a little joy and color and also purify the indoor air. If you just want a plant or two, these are my favorites indoor plants suitable for children.
- Woven baskets – Baskets of different sizes and shapes around the room are perfect for hiding visual clutter, such as toys or winter items.
- Free decoration – Be creative with interesting branches, twigs and even rocks from the outside and display them in a bowl or vase. Make sure your toddler can’t pick up and throw the stones. 🙂 If you are of the cunning type, many of these materials can even be artistic fact!
One of the most important aspects of hygge is the idea of union, which some would say we don’t have much in our modern lives. One way to close this division and get back involved with our children is to take time together. Here are some ideas:
- Light a candle at the same time of day – The act of lighting the candle every day at the same time can be comforting. (If at night, please don’t fall asleep before taking it off!)
- Turn off technology – Spend time regularly turning off devices and spending time together without technology. Experts believe that modern technology is causing a division between children and parents today. We even used a lock box or safe cooking so that our devices protect family time. (Or, if you have self-control, this is a much more attractive way to achieve the same.)
- Prioritize family meal time – Food not only nourishes the body, but can also nourish the soul. Choose healthy recipes (I’ll list a few below) and enjoy a cozy meal together. Bonus if you can get the kids to help them prepare.
- Throw it back – Think about how families had fun 150 years ago. They could tell stories, share a snack, read aloud, sing songs, do a puppet show, and so on.
- Invite friends – Having friends on top is always a good way to get you off the to-do list, as I’m focused on being a good host. I’m not talking about a fancy dinner either, but a simple night of games or sharing a dessert.
- Add the diary to your bedtime routine – Write the 3 things you are grateful for as a family. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it even takes a few minutes to build a habit of gratitude and a sense of connection and well-being.
- Improve the rituals you already have – Instead of just watching a movie, create a strong pillow and crawl (or use the idea from the previous canopy).
Leaving a special time together doesn’t have to be a huge task. Even a small family ritual can make a big difference in everyone’s mood and sense of connection. Find a full list of our favorites family traditions here.
Add comfortable food to the menu
Meals have always been a time of connection, socialization and union for all of human history. These recipes are our favorite healthy versions of traditional comfy foods:
- Mandarin chicken – This healthy recipe tastes as good or better than other recipes, but it is much healthier.
- Crook Bourguignon – This Julia Child-inspired recipe is perfect for a cozy night.
- Cauliflower beef stroganoff – This traditional comfort food is made healthier with cauliflower instead of egg noodles.
- Chile without beans – This delicious recipe only takes a few ingredients, making it a perfect last minute meal.
- Meat pie – As an Irish American, shepherd’s pie is a staple of my family. This uses healthy cauliflower instead of potatoes.
- Meatloaf muffins – Healthy and attractive to children, this recipe is delicious and inspiring.
- Boví Stroganoff – A healthier way to take one of my favorite comforting foods from my childhood.
- Slow cooking ribs – Made with honey or molasses instead of sugar, this recipe is only for whole foods.
- Roasted jar of garlic herbs – Pot roasting is a comfortable food without which many people cannot live.
- Gingerbread cookie recipe – A real way of eating to fill the air with the smell of oven and spices.
You can also share hot drinks such as a cup of tea or hot chocolate.
Add inspiration and command to high-traffic areas
Hygge isn’t just about creating cozy nooks and crannies. Tackling the entrance was the biggest game change for us, as this is the first place we see when we enter the house and the place where more clutter enters. (So many shoes!) Think about:
- Use a closed closet instead of open storage to hide visual clutter
- Hang art o an inspiring quote this has meaning for you
- Add a small entry table with an essential oil diffuser or a vase of dried flowers
Cultivate peace of mind
Hygge is, above all, a mindset. It’s about slowing down and savoring every moment exactly as it is. While this is never easy to do, the more we practice it the easier it will be. Since I can’t always reduce what I have to do (unless I’m giving away one or two children), I try to focus on the little moments of peace as they come.
What are your favorite simple ways to welcome yourself home? Did you try hygiene? I would love to hear it!