It’s four o’clock in the afternoon and the warm rays of the sun fall on the green grass, greeting each blade with a soft kiss. You can hear the slight rustle of the trees as a cool breeze passes by, making the leaves sing and the branches sway. As the day slowly comes to an end, you take in the quiet with a happy sigh. In this particular moment, the world is your home and you are content.
The Danish have a specific word for these moments of bliss: hygge. The term implies coziness, comfort, and well-being. Pronounced “hoo-guh”, hygge doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it has become associated with indulgence, gratitude, togetherness, and relaxation.
It’s that small part of the world where a lifestyle of slowness and simplicity abounds and where time stops as you take time to be kind to the most special people in your life, most especially to yourself. These little bits of happiness are scattered all throughout our timelines. They don’t make up a perfect life, but they help us find joy in living.
If you’ve been overscheduling your days, living a hectic life without a pause, then you might need this Danish dose of sensibility. You can mindfully create your own atmosphere of joy and practice slow living on a regular basis, even amidst the mess that life inevitably brings every now and then. Yes, despite the pile of dishes on the kitchen sink or exhaustion at work and the toxic relationships one might have to endure, you can always make space for the lovely, cozy, and kind.
Creating Hygge Moments
The concept of slow living goes back to ancient times. The Jewish Christians actually have a whole day devoted to hygge called sabbath. It’s that one day of the week where you stop all work and dedicate the time for worship. But you don’t have to subscribe to a religious mindset to create a special day or moment of rest. Slow living doesn’t have to happen on a particular day of the week. It could be half a day, a whole month, or even only 15 minutes of each day.
The most important thing is to have that regular time to be in the present, indulging in rest and recreation without worrying about tomorrow.
To help you embrace slow living:
Start your day with gratitude. Keep a journal to record your meditations.
Take care of your body by eating more fruits and vegetables. Learn some simple breathing and stretching exercises for your exercise routine
Grow and cook your own food. The slow food movement was a reaction to our instant fast-food culture. Taking time to grow and cook your food will give you a deeper appreciation and awareness of each minute. The food could taste a lot better too.
Carve time for activities that nourish your soul. Having a hobby like painting, singing, gardening, or reading helps your mind focus on the activity at hand. They expand your creativity and refresh your outlook.
Play with your kids or have a movie night with lots of cuddles. Smile, laugh, and relish the moment.
After a long day, settle into a warm bath sweetened with essential oils. Turn on some music and allow your body to relax.
Create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home that makes it ideal for rest. Let some sunshine in, clean up but allow for some clutter, and choose colors that help you wind down (whites, light greys and blues, teal, wood, and blush are soothing choices).
Unplug from your tv and gadgets. Leave your mobile phone and take a walk.
Make yourself a warm beverage on a cold night. Bury your nose in your favorite book or cuddle with your pet.
Sunbathe early in the morning. Relish the warmth and appreciate the gold flecks on your skin when the sun washes over your body.
Invite a few close friends over for an intimate dinner with your favorite dishes. Catch up on each other’s lives and listen attentively and compassionately.
Have a date night with your partner. Turn off all work notifications and make it a special day where you can just focus and appreciate each other.
Look out the window on a rainy day and enjoy the sound of raindrops.
If this list speaks to you, listen with your inner being and add more to the list. There’s a reason why you’re attracted to this wonderful way of life. Soaking in the pleasures of every day and the company of loved ones is part of why we live.
Perhaps these simple joys are actually some of our greatest moments. Perhaps, you and I and the rest of the world were really made to live more kindly, gratefully, generously, and slowly.