Time for Hygge?

This new lockdown is starting to bite. Unlike the one that began in March, we can no longer have visits to our gardens, and in any case, the weather is not conducive to that. So what can we do to keep ourselves going?
A few years ago, I ran a feature on this blog, of poems drawing on the notion of hygge, with photographs submitted by the poets or selected by me. This feature is still live. Follow the tags and have a good read of all the fabulous poems by contributors. Hygge is about trying to brighten up the long dark days, with togetherness, kindness and cosiness.

Simple things to stay cheerful
1) Take time for a bit of pampering, doing all those things you rarely have time for, such as face packs, long baths, self-massage and foot soaks.
2) Have one day a week, or more if you like, to dress up a little, put on some special clothes, jewellery, perfume, even make up if you wear it.
3) Learn a new skill or revive an old one, for example, I have gone back to machine sewing, which I had to abandon when I was teaching full time.
4) You might not be able to garden or do outside projects easily, but now is a good time of year to peruse seed catalogues and start planning. Or plan some walks you’d like to do when lockdown lifts. Maps are always fun to look at.
5) I’ve been coping with missing holidays and days out by watching things like Escape to the Country on YouTube. I like seeing parts of the UK I either know or don’t know, as well as seeing lots of interesting houses. This is a good time to indulge those guilty pleasures.
6) Try reading those books that may have languished on your shelves for a while. Slip any you won’t re-read into a bag to pass on to others, or even leave outside with a note saying FREE, please take one, though that does have the added work of bringing it in at night. Or maybe you have a book swap telephone box locally?
7) If you have to work from home, clock on and off and do not let it spill out into your own time or your comfort space.
8) Now can be a good time to plan some craft activities, or journalling, painting or writing. It’s relaxing, and it feels good to play without any pressure.
9) Plan nourishing, inexpensive meals that can be slow-cooked. Nothing says hygge like a big pan of home-made soup to dip into, especially with warm bread. Bake your own, or buy a mix, or get those part-baked rolls.
10) Ring or email or message a friend for a chat. Or even write them a letter. Everyone likes to get post.

January is not the cheeriest of months, but looking for signs of spring can bring hope. New buds on trees, bulbs pushing up, birdsong (make sure you are putting out food for the birds if you want to see and hear them), and the gradual lengthening of days. Things will improve.



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5 responses to “Time for Hygge?

  1. Mavis Gulliver

    Thank you, Angela, for the goood advice. I didn’t need reminding of the hygge post because I read through it last night on line .A bit of synchronicity there. I think we all need an absorbing project and I’ve embarked on my `iutobiography which serves several purposes. It’s for my daughters and grandchildren but is turning out to be a wonderful way of stimulating memories. The more I write, the more I remember. To challenge myself further, and inspired by Betjemann’s ‘Summoned by Bells’ I’m writing in blank verse.Here are a few lines from the beginning
    .My first three years are mysteries to me
    I only know the tales my mother told.
    My first arrival in a bombing raid
    The world at war in 1941.
    We had no telephone. My dad was out
    in panic-stricken search for midwife’s help.
    He found her with the flu. She would not come
    but said she’d get the doctor – if she could.
    The sirens wailed, the hospital was bombed,
    incendiaries had set the hedge on fire
    and Messerschmits were roaring overhead.
    Beneath the kitchen table lay my mum
    not knowing if her baby would be born
    or if my life’s first day would be my last.

    I hope ithis stimulates someone to write their own story. It truly is absorbing. If you do, I suggest that you set a page for different periods so that you can add memories as they come to you. I so have moved house a lot of times so my pages are headed with Place names and Schoosl – so I have 26 pages and can move between them as memories surface.
    All good wishes. Stay safe and well.

    • My word, Mavis, that’s astonishingly good! Lovely idea to use blank verse. If you publish this, I would definitely buy a copy.

      • Mavis Gulliver

        Thank you Angela for the encoraging words. I hadn’t thought of publication, and in any case I have a long, long way to go. I’ve been writing forseveral months and al only as far as Grammar School!

      • You could publish online, on Kindle perhaps, and include photographs, when you finally finish. I love it.

  2. Merryn Williams

    Some very good suggestions, Angela. I’ve given up driving to so-called beauty spots, but do try to get a good walk every day in some isolated place.