It’s Monday 17th October in the UK. We don’t do politics in hygge, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that, whoever you support, the country is in a deep pit of stressors and they are only getting worse: cost of living, international financial markets, worldwide worries and political machinations from every side. It’s enough to drive you to drink, except we all do know that alcohol is never the answer, or at least not long term.
Whatever is stressing you today, we could all do with a list of small escapes to help us relax. Ways to release the pent-up worries we have and to find a better way of dealing with life. And when there’s no money available, it’s even more vital that the ways we choose to do that don’t add to our stresses. No use buying a ticket to a Pacific island if we can’t afford to heat the house. These ideas aren’t solutions to your problems, those you need to work out yourself or buckle in to get through the quagmire and find the other side. These are, like all hygge, a temporary space. A pause to regroup and recover before you take up real life again and, like most hygge ideas, are often just common sense. In no particular order, then:
- Make a cup or a pot of something warm. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate. And take the time to sip it while it’s still hot. Nothing fancy, just your everyday cuppa in your everyday mug.
- Go for a walk in nature. Take 15 minutes off mid morning on a sunny day to just walk and soak up the sun, but whatever the weather a walk in woods or through fields can be a reset. Take the time to savour the experience fully: what can you see, hear, smell or touch? Bury yourself in the real world for just a few minutes and push concerns away from your mind when they rise. Be present. Be mindful. 15 minutes is a start, but if you can spend longer in nature then that’s even better.
- Give your living area a quick tidy up. When all else is beyond your control, you can always be in charge of the recycling or have the power to look at a clean TV screen. I very often do frustration cleaning as a way to clean my cobwebs mentally and physically. And the reward of relaxing into a tidy, fresh-smelling room afterwards helps.
- Watch some comfort TV. Nearer Christmas, my go-to comfort films are The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Scrooge the Musical or The Holiday but in October and November I crave the colours of Nights in Rodanthe, the nostalgia of When Harry Met Sally or a down-right Halloween favourite like Practical Magic. I know Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus II will be some people’s favourites this year!
- Read. I am never without a stack of books, physically or on my Kindle. When I’m stressed or sad, though, I travel back in time to my childhood. I love A Little Princess, any of the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent Dyer and especially The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter. I love the log cabin, made by hand, and the romance of the story.
- Write. Get a piece of paper and put your worries down on it. List them all, money, relationships, anxiety about your career, even whether your family is well. List every single one of them. Now, cross off the ones you can do nothing about and release the stress. The international bond markets are beyond your control. Look closer at the ones you can do something about and decide what your first next step is. Take a clean sheet of paper and write a (short!) list of Next Steps.
- Make something. What’s your creative go-to? I crochet, paint, cross stitch and embroider but when stress builds up I find either clay or carving a great way to release it. There’s just something about setting a knife to wood or digging thumbs deep into clay that makes me feel better. I do, of course, have the advantage of having knives, wood and clay in the house already (bought on sale) but you use what you have. Flour dough can have the same therapeutic effect as clay, and foraged wood is a good base for whittling. Carving soap also works.
- And, of course, creating includes cooking and baking. Take any ingredients you have in the kitchen and make something: a cake, a crumble or a slow-cooked stew of vegetables and left over meat. The act of chopping, browning and simmering slowly can be very therapeutic. I like actions with a purpose, and there is nothing more purposeful than creating a feast to share.
- Find your hygge friend to spend time with. Get them over, or visit them. In fact, every one of the ideas for destressing here are just as good (and often better) when done with company. A good hygge friend listens to your troubles, shares their own and leaves you laughing.
I hope you’re all feeling stoical. Life has never been smooth sailing, and we know that. Riding the top of the waves can be exhilarating, or the scariest thing we go through, depending on how confident we are of making it through. Make sure you keep your friends and family close, leave no man behind and give yourself breaks to regroup. Life goes on regardless, and we need to adapt to whatever lies ahead. To a certain extent, hygge lovers have a head start, if finding frugal and free ways to live becomes necessary. And I leave you with one of my favourite quotes that carries me through years like this:
Just enough, people, that’s all we need. Just enough as long as we know it’s there for us every day.
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. Lent is a season of rituals and resets. The book has small and easy ways to make your life flow with grace and happiness, which lead to more hygge.
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. And it’s always the little things.
And if you, like me, like to plan ahead, then my Christmas books are always available: Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is the basic, all round Christmas hygge book, Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas is about taking time to look after yourself at the busiest season of all and is only available in ebook, while Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was my answer to Christmas in Lockdowns in 2020 but might (sadly) prove useful for a few more years to come. I’m itching to write a new Christmas book, on simplicity, frugality, minimalism and making the meaning of your Christmas more significant, but time, time, time…
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.
The photo between post and promotions is by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash . It’s Autumn still, for another month, and I loved the colour of leaves against the cream background. I have plans for an autumn stripe blanket…… And the header is a photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash. I chose it because it sums up frugal comfort: a blanket, a mug and a comfortable nest to snuggle into.