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Embracing the Last Bit of Winter

Embracing the Last Bit of Winter
Winter…if you’re one of those people who doesn’t enjoy it, it can be a very long season…snow, shorter days, cold dreary weather. Love it or hate it, it’s part of life here in Canada. 25 – 35% of Canadians are said to get the winter blues according to the Canadian Mental Health Association; if you are one of them, don’t despair, because there is hope! 

While we can’t stop the weather, we can control how we deal with it. The Danish seem to have this figured out, as they practice a concept known as hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). The word is of Norwegian origin and is loosely translated into the English word “coziness.” 

It’s much more than this though, it’s a mindset. According to Natalie Van Deuser, professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Alberta, “the best translation is coziness…but it’s more a state of mental balance and psychological well being”. Key ingredients in hygge are togetherness, presence, indulgence, relaxation and comfort. 

If the Danes can do this, so can we; considering they have some of the harshest winters and amazingly they are among some of the happiest people in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. 

So how can we embrace this concept of hygge here in Canada? 

Here are a few ideas: 

1) Incorporate warm lighting in your home: candles, fires and soft-lit bulbs – this can transform your home to match the aesthetics of the season 
2) Cuddle up under the covers with a good book, watch those shows you’ve been meaning to or enjoy a warm bath – basically hibernating in your warm home 
3) Companionship – maintain social connections, it’s good for the soul and an essential part of hygge. Relaxed get-togethers at home or a café, just having a nice time, indulging and focusing on comfort 
4) Start a new tradition with friends or family such as a games night, ski trip or cabin rental 
5) Practice gratitude – being thankful for the little things goes a long way in boosting your spirits 

Whatever you decide to do, if you choose to make the most of the season, it will be much more enjoyable and before you know it, it will be spring!