Well, there goes Christmas until next December. And here comes my darkest time of year.
When I was supply teaching and mothering at home, January and February were my months of low, slow living. The bright lights were down, the children back at school. There wasn’t enough light in the day to do anything much and I basically squared my shoulders and set off to ‘get through’ them as quickly and as quietly as possible.
I still get through them quietly, but I’m not so desperate for them to pass as quickly as possible. In the UK we have relatively sensible winters: not too cold, not too much snow, not too much dark. There’s a good blend of things to do and inactivity, of books to read, TV to watch and cold, sharp days to pass beneath the trees in woodland that is clear and bright because the lush canopy of leaves has been stripped to bare branches that stand black against the grey of winter skies.
Learning to handle my seasonal sadness, to let it wash over and through me and when to take a step away (through light therapy, increased Vitamin D or by mindfully adding therapy techniques to my daily rhythm) and seek the happiness of life whatever the weather… that’s been a real gift to me over the past few years. Hygge was always a good way to handle the winter: time set aside to just be, to pass pleasantly with friends or relatives, to enjoy warm drinks, to create a sanctuary and nest. And slowing down to anticipate the seasons ahead has helped, too. Every small step on the way to spring and Easter is a step to enjoy: the daffodils in the supermarkets, the eggs lining the shelves, the flowers peeping slowly out from beneath bushes in their particular order…. every little sign becomes a moment to treasure, to anticipate the next step, to hold in my heart and feel pleasure over.
And until then there are the quiet joys of winter to create. A new book to read, new recipes to make, a craft that sits quietly in a basket until I need the meditative flow of a few rows of crochet to do. Chai tea to drink, marmalade bread to nibble and new-to-me magazines to flick through. My comfort basket sits by my chair, lipsalve and handcream nestled next to a chocolate orange from Christmas, eaten segment by segment, while my pens and pencils live near to hand with my journal, a sketchbook or a few pages of watercolour paper ready to record feelings, findings or easily forgotten pleasures.
And so I turn to my own hibernation techniques once more. I wrote about creating my own hibernation space in 2018, and I will use those headings again this year: Crafting, Company, Care, Curating (my reading and watching), Cooking. Just notes, in my Winter planner, hastily jotted down and ready to organise. A box, gifted me for Christmas, with a craft project easy enough to do on cold winter’s evenings. Books, garnered at Christmas time, with ghosts and good stories enough for any winter’s tale
This first week back at work is always busy: I’ll take time in my work schedule to plan the activities I know I need to help me: better nutrition, meetings with friends, solo dates to feed my heart and soul. And I will overwinter and emerge, wiser in so many ways, with the sunlight of Spring.
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 my Christmas books are still all available now to buy ready for next season:
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is the basic, all round Christmas hygge book, with advice and ideas on how to make hygge (the cosiest way to be mindful and live in the moment) a large part of all your celebrations.
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, with its own advent calendar of selfcare ideas.
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. It has advice on celebrating small scale, and keeping a Christmas flexible. 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 a photo by Karen Cantú Q on Unsplash. I liked the scarf, the coffee mug held tightly and the hint of hope for spring to come with the little daisy. And the Header is a photo of my side table, where my coffee and tea sits as I rest at home. The chopping board came from Aldi, but its message of Joy is too good to save for just Christmas, while the pencil pot is from The Range (a mug, of course) and the candle from Madame Treacle and came as part of the Winter’s Hug box.