Every winter, while doing my best to stay warm, I suddenly become the queen of cozy, thanks to my Cancer rising and Moon-Saturn. I hold fast to my rule of working from bed two days a week--even seeing clients while under my covers, with my cat curled up near by. (It goes without saying I am writing this from my bed.) Cultivating cozy isn't a luxury to me, it is a mental health necessity to create an inner sense of warmth otherwise I quickly slip into a coldness of isolation or loneliness that comes up the most in winter, the season of Saturn (read previous post here). I identify strongly with the hermit and crone archetype as I have lived alone for more than 15 years as I prefer solitude and being able to choose when I want to relate to others. "Alone" comes from the words "all one," though after several days I begin to feel sad, disconnected, or cold towards others and myself. Then I remember to find my inner warmth.
Many of my years growing up were in a small town in Germany near Stuttgart, there the winters were freezing (much colder than in California) and I remember looking forward to the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt that occurred during the four weeks of Advent. I can still remember the smell of roasting almonds, lights galore, and outdoor fireplaces. It was the Germans' answer to the winter blues to promote gemütlichkeit a feeling of warmth, coziness, and contentment during what was otherwise a very gloomy season.
While the Germans definitely got it right, I think the Danish have refined the concept with "hygge" pronounced "hoo-guh." I think we have a lot to learn from the happiest nation on Earth, especially around how they have some of the worst winters in the world with more hours of darkness than I can even bear to imagine. According to Hygge House, hygge is about creating intimacy (I read this as warmth) with self, friends, or your home. It promotes finding joy in the little things and sense of contentment and security. Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen explains that hygge has become a defining cultural identity, "In other words, what freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes."
As I begin packing for my trip home to see family in Colorado, I am taking with me a desire to connect while hygge-ing. Here are my personal how to's for honoring hygge and hermit:
Time in bed and sleeping in when possible
Spending quality time with friends, this often includes movie watching at home or eating a warm meal
Slowing down, fewer social events and commitments only connecting with those who mean the most to me
Nourishment, I tend to cook more or take the time to focus on eating nutrient dense foods. Not much of a chef? I love Elevated Nutrition…
Keep warm, find a fireplace or get a fake one like I have
Take baths or get access to a warm water– take trip to hot springs or find a local spa or hot springs to spends time
Use more candles or eat by candlelight
Curl up with a good book and tea
Keeping house stocked with warm drinks such as cider
Bring natural elements inside, I love to collect pinecones and leaves as they fall to decorate my apt during the fall/winter months
Cuddle with pets or furry creatures, my cat gets extra annoyed with me during winter when I snuggle into her fur belly constantly
There is no quick fix for winter, sometimes we may have to feel the sadness before we can cultivate our inner warmth or hygge. Whatever your remedy or medicine for the internal and external coldness, I hope it involves at least a little hygge.