New year, more hygge

A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog
A hyggelig blog about slow living, motherhood & other daily musings www.houseofsmilla.com/blog

It is mid January and I'm finally settling into the new year. Although, I didn't want to make too many resolutions for the year twenty seventeen, I set myself one goal. To stay calm. To not loose my mind. To live slowly and mindfully. And because, one might say that's already 5 goals I put it all under one big word mantra for myself. New year, more hygge. 

With adding another baby to the family in just a few weeks and moving back to the Unites States sometime in the summer, I am terribly worried about loosing myself in stress, anxiety and a more hectic daily life than need be. So I swore myself, that above all else this year, I will create "hyggeligt" moments for myself and my family wherever, whenever I can. 

The Danish concept of "hygge" {hue-gah} is probably the most trendy term thrown around on social media and is quickly filling up the bestseller lists. There are debates going on, how to describe "hygge" best to foreigners and multiple definitions have been thrown around. To me, these speak to me the most:

Hygge is a quality of presence and experience of togetherness. It is a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered. Hygge is an experience of selfhood and communion with people and places that anchors and affirms us, gives us courage and consolation.To hygge is to invite intimacy and connection. It's a feeling of engagement and relatedness, of belonging to the moment and to each other. Hygge is a sense of abundance and contentment. Hygge is about being not having. (Louisa Thomsen Brits in "The book of Hygge - the Danish art of living well")
Hygge is about being present with the ones you love without having to put your guard up. It's creating a safe psychological space where you leave your negativity, stress, complaining and controversy at the door for a period of time. (J. J. Alexander, author of "The Danish way of parenting")

And then, "hygge" is also a whole lot about hot drinks, blankets, candlelight, homeyness and coziness. Sounds lovely, doesn't it. 

So, I'm not a Dane. In fact, I have only visited Denmark once and that was last summer. Yet, I think I was so thrilled to find out about the whole "hygge" movement (I think it is safe to say, we can call it that), because it hits so close to home. In Germany in general, but I think particularly in Bavaria where I am from we have a great culture of "Gemuetlichkeit" (verb "gemuetlich"). The word derives from the noun "Gemuet", which describes the "heart, mind, temper and feeling". Like hygge, it describes a state of comfort, of togetherness, warmth, happiness and slowing down the everyday. 

For example, when I first moved to the United States I found it awfully "ungemuetlich" (the opposite of "gemuetlich"), to constantly drink coffee on the go. I missed the long conversations over one or two cups of hot brew with my friends at a cafe. The drive-by windows drove me mad. To this day, I feel horribly "ungemuetlich", when the waiter drops the bill off with me upon the last bite. It makes me feel like I am not welcome to linger, to chat, to enjoy - to be gemuetlich. 

Here in Germany, I will invite friends over for a "gemueltichen Abend" - a cozy night in. Or I will put on an cardigan with the words "I want to feel more gemuetlich". So I think it is very similar to the Danish "hygge". If you ever visit the Oktoberfest (or any other beerfest really) you will hear the band sing several times "Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit" (a cheers to coziness if you will) and everyone raises their glasses in union. 

So here's my masterplan for 2017. Every day, I want to make room for cozy moments. Wether it's lighting a candle at breakfast, or enjoying a home cooked meal together as a family in the evening. I want to focus in on the tiny things, that make life so "hyggeligt". I want to celebrate togetherness as a family and enjoy the time left with my friends. When I get stressed over parenting I want to remind myself to take a step back, to breathe, and to create a calm, cozy atmosphere. When I am about to loose my mind over packing up boxes, I want to emphasize on positivity. When the daily tasks seem to add up into utter madness, I want to hit the breaks, and honor a slower way. I will make room for self-care and quiet moments for myself. Overall, I want that "sheltered", "comfort" and "being in the moment" feeling. And ultimately, I want to find out, if all this emphasis on "hygge" will make me a happier person overall. 

Β