I have never been sniffy about where I learn the best things in life: sometimes it’s an expensive book, like my current read Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman, sometimes it’s off the back of a sweet packet or on a bus. A lot of my quotes for life or inspiration come from Goodreads and Pinterest. I can pass a lot of time happily leapfrogging from pin to pin looking for ideas, inspiration and ways to ignore work.
Yesterday I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this inspiring message. It’s on the pillar box right outside the Post Office I use for work, which is actually the one closest to my home rather than the one closest to the office. I found it feels better to walk in, do the business I need to and then head the mile (maximum) home rather than go to the office nearest to work earlier in the day and have either more work or a commute home ahead of me. The Post Office, if you like, becomes my decompression chamber. I know when I get there I am on the last lap.
Anyway: to the message. I have no idea who has put it there, just that I’m glad they did. It’s a message I love, as you can see from this corner of my desk. It makes me smile, and we all know that it is impossible to stay sad if you smile. The body responds to the action, and secretes the happy hormone, endorphin. Fake it til you make it, and smile when your heart is aching as Charlie Chaplin would say.
Do you have any small messages or quotes that always work for you? Whether they make you happy, give you determination to carry on or let you know you’re not alone or, conversely, that you’re not the most important thing in the world? I have always loved quotations, from early teenage years, and find solace and support in them. I think sometimes it’s the eternal quality: a good quotation lasts. Like the Stoic philosophers, or some of the ancient hermits in the Church. Like Locke, Pope, Hobbs, Byron, Keats or Donne (not in chronological or any order, really).
I wonder, looking around the modern world, whose quotes will survive into the 25th Century? I’m putting a word in for A A Milne, J R R Tolkien and Calvin and Hobbes. I think they all have lessons for living that are eternal.
I’ve decided to have one header for the whole season of small things: it’s one of my favourite pictures by Alex Geerts on Unsplash. I love the whole colour scheme, which just makes me feel so autumnal. I love the socks, the book, the blanket, the tea, the leaves and pumpkin. There are so many small pleasures in the picture, it’s like my ambition for this whole series in one simple shot.
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. August is like a pause before real life begins again in September, so it’s a second chance to set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.
On the principle that it’s never too early to start thinking ahead, really, and that Christmas is always on us before we know, how about Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas? Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
And on the basis that we may well find ourselves in Lockdowns or unable to enjoy an absolutely normal Christmas under Covid regulations if numbers spike, why not read and plan alternatives? Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic last year, and will need updating soon, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well, and read the other posts in the series, too.
My September of Small Things:
Day Three: Plants, Naturally
Day Four: A New Magazine that Really Suits Me
Day Five: Autumnal Decor Ready for the Harvest
Day Eight: Life Lessons From the Roadside