January 2018 is FINALLY over! If you have read any of the memes floating around the interwebs, you know that it felt like it was never going to end. The bi-polar Michigan weather teased us with a few spring like days just to throw us right into a surprise winter storm and frigid temps again.
This is the time of year where my heart begins to grow weary. The sun isn’t out enough. It’s too cold to do much outside after work and my budget doesn’t allow unlimited skiing fun. So what is a Michigan gal to do when the winter blues set in? How do I survive winter hygge style?
Should I hibernate?
Usually in winter, I literally just hibernate. I come home after work, graze through the kitchen and watch Netflix until April. It’s a simple way of life, but it does little to inspire me and it exasperates the doldrums I feel in winter and increases my anxiety level.
Should I hygge?
As I scroll Pinterest to find more things I will not make or cook, I kept coming across hygge. It is this Danish concept of coziness, simplicity, and enjoying life. This fit in perfectly with my goal for the year-JOY!
I am all like, I can get hygge (rhymes with jiggy) with it.
Then I learned it is pronounced more like the word hug (hooogga) which I also like so I’mma get started on this.
It’s not hard at all. You probably already do many of these things. Now just do them after you turn off all notifications on your phone except text messages and actual calls. Put your phone up on a shelf. Be present in the moment with food, feelings, fun, and family.
Bake yummy treats. It smells up your home with all sorts of goodness and takes effort to accomplish. You can do this alone or with your minis. Make sure you enjoy samples and package up a few of your creations to pass the love on to someone else. Have a stock pile of tea, cocoa, and coffee. I am certain that warm drinks=warm heart.
Surround yourself with things that evoke good feelings inside. Make sure to play the music you like. Light candles or diffuse scents that bring you comfort. Read books that inspire you in these darker days. Light a fire in your fireplace if you have one or put one on your tv. Wash your blankets so they smell clean and fresh and make sure you always have a cozy throw for your favorite chair or couch spot. Grab your soft socks or slippers. Most importantly…GRATITUDE!
Your inner peace and joy is directly related to the amount of gratitude you have. I have had a rough few years where on the outside it looks pretty dark and it has been. But when I write down or perseverate on all of the things I am grateful for and the blessings I know God has given in spite of the crap happening around me, I instantly feel lighter in my heart and mind. And even in the moments I feel like there is nothing to be grateful for, I am grateful that my current situation is never my final destination.
Hygge is all about creating moments of harmony and being fully present in those moments. So in these blah Michigan winters, it is important to do a bit more than just snuggle in with your baked goods and candles and wait for the sun to come back out. Go ice skating. Take a winter walk. Can you fit one weekend of skiing or one overnight at a hotel with a pool in the budget? Invite friends over for a games and PJ night. Meet up with loved ones at a cozy café or do coffee and cinnamon rolls and chat with some friends at home. Arrange a pajama playdate with another momma and let the kiddos play while the moms bake a treat. Whatever you do, find a way to plan some simple fun to look forward to and then be fully present in the moment it happens. Like the other day I planned to walk Target all by myself. Afterward, I spur of the moment decided to eat Taco Bell in the parking lot and read about the Duggars in my mom van before returning to real life at home. It’s the little things that get us through winter in Michigan.
Winter is the perfect time to just make a big weekend dinner and invite the fam or friends like fam over to feast. This weekend, I am taking Sweet V to my parents’ house and we are having, “two sleepovers” as V like to say. My sister is going to be there with her kiddos and my niece will be there while my brother travels. We are going to hang out, be cozy, eat food, shop a bit, watch movies, and just be together. The snow is supposed to fall, so if we get stuck inside, we will all just pile under blankets and read and drink coffee while the kids play. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Michigan winter weekend.
Don’t be like the old Kendra and wish your life away during the winter, longing for places or situations that are out of reach right now. HYGGE! Survive a Michigan winter by being in the current moment of your life and embrace it as a gift. After all, it is called the present.
Get your hygge on and don’t worry if you gain a few pounds. That’s what spring and summer smoothies are for!
Life is good and Michigan winter can actually be great! Keep making your house a love-filled home.
High five for home!