Health and Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Minimalism, simple living

How to lead a simple life if you live in a big city

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I am a fan of the simple life now which is the culmination of a few years of scaling back from living in London, the biggest of big UK cities. I now live in a rural setting- not too far from York (in the North of England for any of my lovely international readers who haven’t heard of it)  with all it’s amenities but in a little village surrounded by fields, and you can hear the cows mooing in the morning, and the swallows or bats swoop over your head depending on the time of day.  Continue reading “How to lead a simple life if you live in a big city”

Health and Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Minimalism, simple living

Hygge and Mindfulness

For those of you who don’t avidly Pinterest or Instagram, or follow a number of the more hipster types on twitter (or you’re Danish)  hygge might have bypassed me up to now. Let me introduce you.  Visit Denmark puts it far better than I can…

A hygge definition

‘Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and cold beer and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life. ‘

Essentially hygge is simple living Danish stylee. Friends, family, candlelight, food, warmth, cosiness. All the ingredients for an experience that money does not buy.

Why hygge?

So why is everyone getting obsessed with hygge over here all of a sudden?  Because actually that kind of life, with no pressures, no deadlines, long leisurely dinners with candles, lingering over a glass or two of wine (rather than a bottle or two) is just not the average Brit’s lifestyle these days.

We’re obsessed with more, more, more, faster , faster, faster. There’s no doubt that the simple living and mindfulness movements are gaining ground in response to this as people like me step off the treadmill shouting ‘enough already’.

Actually hygge is just another way of slowing down and experiencing, just like mindfulness. Of being present, of lingering in cosy surroundings and not putting pressure on yourself about tomorrow’s problems or worrying about yesterdays slights. Of being here, now.

Isn’t it interesting that so many people are turning towards ideas that involve less buying, less time beavering away at work, less time trawling social media and the internet in exchange for time spent with yourself and a good book, with your loved ones and supper?

I think we’re actually fed up with the fast life and are desperately looking for solutions that give us an antidote. For those who shiver in  horror at the thoughts of meditating or moving mindfully around a bit like a Tai Chi master, hygge offers a more down to earth alternative.

Hygge and mindfulness

It sits very much with the mindful concept of being compassionate to yourself and others. What greater gift can you give someone you love than to spend quality time with them? Embracing comfy pyjamas and a night of the Archer’s omnibus is a great way of showing compassion to yourself in an otherwise hard edged week. So let’s embrace this latest craze. I’m off to light my candles.

If you’re interesting in exploring hygge for yourself here’s five ways you can get started:

  1. Turn down the lights – a big part of hygge is cosiness. Harsh overhead lighting does not make a cosy atmosphere, so turn off overhead lamps, change your lamps to soft lighting, and light some candles. If you’ve got a log burner, light it or turn on your gas fire. You don’t even need to have it on heat, but the flickering light of the flames will create the look you’re after.
  2. Use lots of different fabrics – Part of hygge is about blankets and cushions and getting wrapped up warm. Try a faux fur blanket, with a wool cushion for extra warmth, or mix Scandi colours such as slate, ice blue and heather.
  3. Get into your comfiest PJs or invest in some lounge pants. However you dress down, hygge is giving you permission to do so! Put on the PJs or if like me you have dogs to walk, get a pair of comfy jersey lounge pants and a woolen jumper. The wool will keep the heat around your body, and you’ll be able to curl up with a book or a movie and feel really comfortable.
  4. Cook up some winter food – Get some big stews on the hob or roast some vegatables. Hygge food is all about sharing, and comfort food, so pick your best winter comfort food, invite some friends and have a hygge party!
  5. Take time out – our busy lives mean we often struggle to make time for others, let alone ourselves. Hygge gives us permission to do that. Turn off the phone, take a Facebook break, read a book, invite some friends over and have quality time. Step away from busyness to relax and enjoy the important things in life.