It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not THAT time of the year but the seasonal shift to all things cosy. Where socks are worn in bed and extra layers are added to my bed clothes. When coats and umbrellas are taken, just in case. When I start scrolling for cute, but put together (aka grown up) outfits that involve knitted jumpers and beanies. Hot drinks are back on the menu; bye bye iced coffee and hello salted caramel latte. And I start to read cosy books by the fire, instead of outside on the lawn.
If you've read this blog long enough, you will know my love of all things Scandi. I recently wrote about Fika, https://www.sarahalexcarter.com/post/fika-your-day with 7 steps on how to take a break (and enjoy coffee and cake while you do!) And you may have heard of the word hygge pronounced hoo-gah. Hygge is Danish and according to visitdenmark.com means "creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there's nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world".
There is a contentment in this word, and given the reduced hours of sunlight the northern countries experience through the autumn and winter months, embracing the cold and dark is part and parcel of understanding what it means to hygge. So, even though South Wales is not Scandinavia, it certainly gets a lot less sunshine from October through to March, and I see this as an opportunity to live out my Danish dreams through the colder months.
So, here is my list of ideas to see me through the darker days and how to know contentment in my soul and wellness in my being.
From clothes, to blankets, layering is key to seeing this season through in comfort. Knowing that I can remove or add items to keep me 'just right' in terms of temperature is a good way to avoid chills and draughts.
This follows on from the first idea, where I will put a pair of gloves in my bag and car - simple, cheap pairs that are there just in case. Similarly, I will stock up on new bed socks and simple long sleeve tops to cosy up in and add to what I wear everyday.
One of the hallmarks of hygge is candle light, and lots of it. Did you know that every Dane burns 3.5kg of candles a year, with 39% lighting up every day! And you know, I love a candle, especially a scented one. However, please be aware that candle smoke can be toxic and leave particles in the air, so choose your candle wisely and always crack open a window when burning.
Along a similar theme, an open fire is top of the list when it comes to cosy. Now, this may not be possible for everyone, but even visiting a local pub or restaurant with a real fire is a good way to get that cosy glow.
I plan on enjoying lots of casseroles, soups and warming treats. Changing what I eat with the seasons is not only good for the planet, but also my health and wellbeing. Showing gratitude for the food we eat, in taking time to prepare it and not waste it, is a sure way towards contentment.
Board games, pizza night and a movie marathon make for great activities to hunker down on dark nights. But it's even better when these experiences are shared with friends and family, gathered together. The heart of hygge is people and sharing conversation, so, I will be gathering with my loved ones to make the most of time together this year.
Most importantly, I am going to slow down and take in the season changes. The fading light, colder mornings, and chill in the air. I am going to focus on the golden shades of leaves, the browns, and greys of bare trees. I will walk (latte in hand, bobble hat on!) through drab and wet streets and take it all in.
Appreciation appreciates, and so bring on the cosy and let's enjoy this wonderful time of year! Follow me on Instagram as I share more ideas and tips on hygge throughout the autumn, you'll find me @iamsarahalexcarter.
And if you'd like to really embrace the world around you with real intention and mindfulness, both my online courses celebrate the natural world and if you enter the code EVENT20, you'll get a 20% discount off from 24th September until 31st October 2022. They will help you find wellness and bring you relief from stress. Click here to access them now and don't forget the 20% discount too.