What is Hygge and How to Make It Part of Your Life

Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish term referring to coziness or feeling warm, comfortable, and safe…a space that promotes emotional wellbeing. Hygge has been gaining popularity. Back in 2016, The New Yorker published an article that it was the year of hygge.

Hygge has been a cultural practice in Denmark since the 18th century as a celebration of “coziness and comfortable conviviality” during the long, dark Scandinavian winters.

Hygge is an atmosphere you create in which you enjoy the simple joys of life together with your loved ones. Perhaps this is the reason why Denmark ranks among the happiest countries in the world according to the World Happiness Report.

If you haven’t joined the trend yet, the winter season is a great time to start. These are the points to remember when considering hygge.

  • Hygge is a lifestyle, not just an activity. It’s embracing a way of BEING.
  • Hygge is part of self-care because of its health benefits (inherent when you create a relaxed, loving atmosphere).

Some examples of hygge components are: 

  • Warm, dimmer light – in a research study in February 2020 people perceived warm, dimmer light as more relaxing compared to bright, white lights. 
  • Spending time with loved ones – nurturing social connections is good for physical and emotional health according to several studies including this review. In one study, it was found out that premenopausal women have higher levels of oxytocin when they get frequent hugs from their partners.
  • Aromatherapy – being around certain scents such as orange or rose induces physiological relaxation in the brain. 
  • Positive and relaxed mood – when we are more positive and relaxed, we tend to be better at problem solving, are more creative, and get along with each other more.

Here are some ways to get started in creating an environment that is cozy, inviting, appealing, and that benefits your well-being:

  • Adjust your lighting – You can dim the lights and light some candles, depending on what is appropriate at the moment. The goal is to make the atmosphere cozy, warm, comfortable, and relaxed.
  • Hang out with close friends, even if it’s just a small circle – Togetherness is the essence of hygge. Spend time with those you can freely express yourself, where you are heard without judgment, where you can laugh out loud, and bare your pains as well. 
  • Be comfortable – With your clothes, home, work, and other aspects of living. Wear comfortable clothes–clothes that don’t make you self-conscious and don’t distract you from whatever you want to do. Arrange furniture in your home so that you’d feel relaxed and safe. If disorganization is distracting you, consider clearing the clutter to create more ease.
  • Cook – Yes, preparing and cooking food is also an important part of hygge. Cooking can feel meditative when you lean into the process without distractions and focusing on the joy of creating nourishment for yourself and/or others. There can also be added joy when done with friends or family.
  • Be mindful – Enjoy and appreciate the present moment. Give yourself a break and just focus on the moment. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Soothe yourself with a relaxing moment or a warm bath–away from social media, work, and other demands. Recharge.
  • Make a bedtime routine – That is a bedtime routine that calms you down and prepares your body to sleep. You can try breathing exercises, drinking tea, cuddling on the sofa, listening to relaxing music, and making your bedroom the coziest place in the house.

Sending you lots of warm fuzzies and I hope that you are inspired to embrace hygge.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

3 Tips To Boosting Your Holiday Season Resilience

While the holidays can be the best time of the year for some, for others it can feel like the worst. The American Psychological Association has actually found that almost half of women in the US experience heightened stress during this season, putting them at increased health risk.

Aside from holiday stress, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or winter depression can make this time of year challenging.
To manage stress, it is common to resort to food and alcohol to manage stress. Self-care and stress-management techniques, on the other hand, can help you stay healthy and feeling like your best self during the holidays.
I remember a quote by Katie Reed, a writer, speaker, and mental health advocate. She said, “Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”
This holiday season, I invite you to give these resilience tips a try:

1. Embrace Your Healthy Habits

No matter what the season, embrace your healthy habits because they are the foundation to a healthy and awesome you! Be mindful of your physical activity–make sure you create ample time for movement and exercise every day. Physical activity does not only boost your energy but also elevates your mood. Get enough rest and sleep and eat healthy meals. 
Consider taking a break from social media and news. Not all news and updates we see online make us happy or are useful. You can choose to spend more time on rest or things that feel useful to you.
Read a book. Take a night stroll. Go stargazing. 
These are all good for your mental health–to free yourself from stressors by doing something nice for yourself, focusing on the moment, and reducing distractions.

2. Take Time to Reflect on the Meaning of the Season

What can you focus on that you enjoy about this time of year? What are the things that you’d actually like to do with your precious time rather than doing things out of obligation?  I suggest you take some time off to reflect on the true meaning of this season for you.
If you feel overwhelmed with gift shopping, why not prepare something that money can’t buy or donate to a worthy cause on someone’s behalf? If you’re feeling over scheduled, consider scheduling some activities later, like the first week of January.

3. Reach Out

We all have a comfort zone when it comes to time spent with others. It is healthy to want to spend some time by yourself! Listen to your inner compass when reaching out and connecting. Quality social connection is healthy whereas too much time with others and not enough downtime is not. Trust your judgement.
I hope that these tips help you feel resilient and fabulous over the holidays!

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health and happy holidays!


5 Self-Care Ideas for the Holidays

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people, especially if you are struggling with stress and anxiety. So I have put together 5 tips for self-care to support you during this season.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), self-care is defined as “providing adequate attention to one’s own physical and psychological wellness.” Basically, self-care is checking in with yourself (how you’re actually doing) and then providing what your body and/or mind needs. So it is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Your self-care habits may be different from another person’s, and might even be different than what it has looked like in the past. 

The goal of self-care is to help you maintain well-being: reduced stress, stronger immune response, increased positivity, and higher self-esteem.

Because self-care is SO important under normal day to day circumstances, during busier or more stressful times of the year, it’s that much more essential. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holiday season and not get run down: 

  1. Carve out time to fill your cup – You can’t pour from an empty vessel, so make sure you schedule time for yourself. And if it is hard for you to carve out time for yourself, I recommend literally putting it on your schedule/calendar! Determine things that bring you joy, make you feel relieved and relaxed, and restore your sense of balance. Does meditation help you relax? Then go for it. How about listening to relaxing songs? Maybe yoga? Walks? Journaling? Relaxation apps? Acupuncture? Massage? Pick whatever healthy option makes your wellness cup feel more full!
  2. Focus on gratitude – Research shows that gratitude reduces stress and improves physical and mental health. You can learn more  about the benefits here. Make it a point to pause and reflect on what you are blessed with (blessings of any size). Even when things don’t seem to go our way, sometimes that is a blessing but we don’t realize it until some time has passed. Make it a point this season to become intentionally grateful. Maybe this is the right time for you to start a gratitude journal if you haven’t already.
  3. Still choose healthy habits – You can still enjoy the season without sacrificing your health. Set boundaries, and learn to say no if something compromises them. Keep up with healthy sleep habits. Step outside. Plan healthy meals and bring healthy, delicious foods to celebrations.
  4. Move your body – Exercise, even gentle exercise, is amazing at helping your brain release beneficial chemicals that support your wellbeing, sleep, and encourages more self-care actions.
  5. Focus on giving and working with others – According to research, giving and cooperating with other people can stimulate the reward areas in the brain. This in turn helps create positive feelings, a sense of purpose, and feelings of self-worth. Connection and kindness is one of the most valuable gifts you can give.You can reach out to a friend or a relative or give the gift of your presence to someone you love.

hope these tips and reminders will help you create a more meaningful holiday season. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!