I have been quiet, haven’t I? I think my work has been quite demanding recently: I’ve had a sort of promotion, plus we have more work coming in to the office which leads to more typing which leads to more work….
I’m complaining again. It’s a nasty habit that I seem to have got into recently. I know life isn’t all sweetness and light, I know there’s a dark side that I usually like to turn away from, but at the moment I’ve been spending too much time in the shadows. Larger family issues have taken up too much of my spirit and swamped me. I wish I could talk about them, but I can’t. It’s not been nice and it’s not good for me. It’s only November and I can feel the dark sucking away. It’s not been light all year.
So, here I am in my happy place and on a mission to make sure I keep it going. Hygge, as always, has been my saving light, and I fully intend to keep it that way. I need a place of cosy, happy security and (sadly for you readers) that’s here.
Now, then, where was I? Ah, yes. November-proofing my life. It’s not long to go now until December, and the inevitable crush of emotion that is Christmas, so I want to get myself in as healthy a condition as possible. That means balancing the demands of a 21st Century life against the requirements of a human body. I’m back to those four basic pillars of health again: Sleep, food, exercise and managing stress. I’m going to take them one by one for the next four days and look at how I’m integrating them into a busy life for better living. Today, it’s sleep.
My bedroom is looking tidy at the moment. I’ve had a good clear out, shifted some property I no longer need to charity and put other in storage. We changed our mattress last year for something comfortable and, along with a story to listen to at nightime, that’s pretty much all I need for a decent night’s sleep.
At the moment I’m concentrating on keeping to a settled bedtime routine: a little TV, then upstairs to get ready for bed, sip my favourite bedtime tea and read for a while (it can be for up to an hour) before swapping the written word for the spoken one and settling down to a chapter of my audiobook or a podcast. I’m averaging around 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep a night, which is just about enough. I can’t sleep in at the weekends, only doze a little, so my sleep pattern is pretty constant. This year, the things on my good sleep wishlist are:
- A lightly scented bedroom. I don’t like heavy scents or sprays, but I do like layered scents. I clean my wooden bedroom furniture with lavender furniture wax rather than spray polish, but for an extra lavender hit I like to spray my pillow with aromatherapy lavender sleep spray at some point earlier in the evening. It is, of course, perfectly possible to make your own mist as well. I like this mist, with its hint of lavender, orange and chamomile. Guaranteed sleep in a spray.
- Something good to read. From early childhood, I have been a night-time reader and sleep better after a chapter or two of a good story. This November, I’ve got a good mix of gothic tension and sweetly soft. At the moment I’m reading The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements and enjoying the spine-chilling tension that’s being built up in it, but my TBR pile also includes Trisha Ashley’s latest Christmas book, The Christmas Invitation, as well as an advance order for Alison Sherlock’s Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall. That’s the fourth book in a series, and I loved the others so I have no doubt I will love this one.
- Something good to listen to. Once I put the book down (or it drops from my hand through exhaustion some nights) I like to slip in a set of earphones and go to sleep listening to something mellifluous. If I don’t have background noise, I get woken up by my dreams, and sometimes they can be quite vivid and scary. I know I probably should experience them fully, but it’s just too much sometimes. My audio favourites at the moment are, as always, Nigel Slater on Audible reading his Christmas Chronicles or the accompanying podcast. Stylist have assembled some of their favourite podcasts to sleep to here, while for sheer bloody-minded boring in an interesting way, I love the 50 hours worth of Churchill by Andrew Roberts, read by Stephen Thorne.
- Something to sip. I love a cup of tea at bedtime, and usually we just have a cup of decaffeinated tea to sip. But on the nights when I am alone and can indulge my whims myself, I like nothing better than a good herbal tea. I have enjoyed Clipper Sleepeasy tea, or Pukka Night Time with Valerian. Sometimes, however, nothing but a good, milky drink will do and then warmed milk with honey, vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon does the job. For a great review of different night time teas, try The Independent’s post.
- Something to sleep in. Comfy and warm, or sleekly sexy? I’ll take the cosy every day. I like my pyjamas to be comfortable, smooth and not tight at all. The nicest pairs I have at the moment were bought at Asda, surprisingly enough, but have lasted really well. They’re made from jersey fabric, so stretch really well, and have no buttons, laces or anything else to put me off my sleep. If it’s a particularly cold night, I layer up with a man’s V neck jumper, but otherwise I sleep in a vest top all year round. Fluffy socks, either Christmas or not, keep my feet warm in bed.
And after a good night’s sleep, it makes sense to wake up in as natural a way as possible. I’ve got one of these natural light and sound alarm clock on my Christmas list: I had a bird song alarm on my phone during the summer, and it was so beautiful to wake up to the call of a bird every day. Since the winter mornings are dark, cold and harsh on humans, I’m looking forward to, come January, waking slowly and well. I’m also considering investing in a lightbox to use on my desk at work this year… I’m worried that going into the winter feeling so run down and low will make me more prone to SAD than normal, and even with the thought of my annual hibernation to look forward to, I need a boost. Do you use a light box? Does anyone you know? What do they think about it? I do, of course, know that getting out in the natural daylight would be even better… but we’re only humans, after all.
And now a word from our sponsors.….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.