Embracing Hygge

While doing some research on my ancestral resiliency practices last month, I discovered that my paternal grandfather’s maternal grandparents were Danish - making me 1/8 Danish. I’ve never been particularly interested in my cultural or genetic heritage and have always just joked that “I’m Heinz 57.”

I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Scandinavia and once had grand plans to apply to grad school in Sweden [then a few years later an actual person I had a crush on moved there and I let my Scandinavian dreams go, because I didn’t want to be perceived as a girl who followed a boy halfway around the world].

Anyway, once I realized that Denmark is a part of Scandinavia, I decided to dig in and really learn about Danish culture. The biggest thing to know about Danes is that they embrace something called “hygge” in all aspects of life… and I am VERY into it. It aligns well with the mindfulness stuff I practice from therapy, my love of creating cozy environments, and my tendency for introversion.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, and I’ve been trying to make some changes to improve my mental health and general outlook on life. I lean heavily towards a more cynical view on humanity, and don’t spend enough time appreciating what good there is in my world, so this quote really punched me in the gut:

It is not about viewing life through rose-colored glasses or seeing the glass as half-full. Rather, it is experiencing the world via the soft glow of the candles, and seeing that the glass has water, and being grateful for things just being the way they are. — Astrid S. Nielsen, Hygge: Cozy Living The Danish Way 

When I started my journey with therapy, I often mentioned that I wanted less extremes in my life and more “happy mediums.” I’m hoping that trying to implement hygge into my every day life will bring more of this into my existence. I think it might actually be working? I have been put more effort into making my house cozy & decluttered, trying to minimize how often I am multitasking, and putting my damn phone down to pay real, solid, attention to my dog.

I often get so caught up in the daily slam of terrible news and wanting to change society so bad that I forget to slow down and enjoy life. I’ve been learning the hard way that I have to create space to enjoy life if I want to have any modicum of resiliency to stay in this fight for the long haul. I won’t be much use in dismantling white supremacy, the patriarchy, or capitalism if I’m a burnt out curmudgeon!

“Enjoy lifeThere's plenty of time to be dead.” — Hans Christian Andersen

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