A plan for the winter months –
I don’t really consider winter starting until after Christmas and then there is usually a sharp couple of months when life becomes a wee bit challenging. Regular followers of Scottish island mum will be familiar with my incubation theory where I use January and February as ways to incubate my thoughts, feelings, communications and actions emerging refreshed in early spring. I have operated this system for years but this year I am testing a new plan and it comes all the way from Denmark. I have long been impressed with Denmark as a nation and the Danes as a collection of people. For me their education system remains the best in the world and the outlook of the people deeply convincing as a way of navigating through life.
Many of you will be familiar with the trendy term Hyggye as it has become a popular concept to try and absorb into our daily lives. The Danes swear by it so it demands a closer look and a wee bit of a test. Scotland is not that removed from Denmark geographically but I see bug differences in the way people live their lives in these two nations. While both countries struggle with natural light in the winter the Danes seem to have a much healthier attitude to surviving this absence. In Scotland we tend to go into a form of hibernation and on our island this is most evident with empty villages and beaches. In Denmark they continue with their daily lives as usual but increase their commitment to hygge. The closest definition for hygge is coziness stemming from an intimate relationship and investment in yourself, your relationships and your home. On that basis I am abandoning my incubation strategy and adopting a hygge strategy for the next couple of months. Scottish island mum gives me the perfect place to blog about my findings.
My commitment to a daily walk lasted throughout 2016 and I emerge from that year stronger and fitter than I have been in years. I note, with a small degree of fear, that hygge for the Danes often involves cycling. I have a bike, which might need a wee bit of work but I am quite determined to cycle for the next couple of months on at least a couple of my necessary trips to the village. Oh good God, I have no idea how this will go……
If I am to invest in myself I am able to take some of my incubation activities into this hygge regime and top of my list will be a cycle to the village, a bowl of warming soup and a cycle back. Put this together with gentle strolls on the beach in search of treasures for new creative projects and hygge starts to penetrate my daily activities.
The island is not as well set up for hygge as it could be. I could be taking my laundry to a very modern and trendy laundrette and visit the adjoining coffee shop while I wait for my clothes to wash. Not possible on Arran. I could be going to my local library and grabbing a coffee while I read the latest newspapers. Not possible on Arran. I could be taking in a 45 minute opera while drinking hot chocolate in an outdoor performance space. Not possible on Arran. All these things are possible in Denmark so we have some way to go on our small island, if not our entire nation.
For the Danes hygge in integrated into their daily lives and for us we have to find ways to experience it. Businesses in Denmark integrate the concept into all that they do and their interactions with people. We are a long way off that.
I might argue that one of Crafts & Company’s latest initiatives – our Craft Club – is an example of hygge. We meet up with fellow crafters, create something, chat and drink coffee and eat cake. I have absolutely no doubt that hygge is scoring high in this wee club and we all feel the benefit. Coral and I have putting together a crafting for wellbeing initiative for the next few months and I am going to try and not only establish hygge moments but measure it as well. This will be done on a personal level. Every crafting for wellbeing experience I have will be scored out of a maximum of 10 and reported here. Let’s see how we get on with that.
Hygge in relationships will feature highly in the Crafting for Wellbeing project but all my relationships need a wee bit of hygge. I am going to visit friends, write letters and speak to distant friends on the phone – all on a more regular basis. I spend a lot of time with my family and always have done but I know some of friends have been neglected and with a sprinkle of hygge things will be improved and a better sense of balance should emerge.
The last area is my home. That really needs a massive dose of hygge. It is an old stone farmhouse that is rather struggling now so I am going to start working through an endless list of jobs to show it some love and hope that that makes me love it a wee bit more. Beyond that I am looking to set up hygge spaces. This is something the Danes are very good at. The comfy chair under the lamp for reading while drinking tea. The house plants that reward love and attention with beautiful blooms. The comfy bed that encourages a lazy morning once in a while. I can get very functional with my time. I wake, I get up and I plan my day in the shower so to hit the day at a canter. The Danes rise early and often eat lunch at 11am, even in the depths of winter. They make the most of their short days and limited light and I am not sure I do that. Some food for thought there me thinks.
If you fancy joining me on this hygge experiment I would love to hear all about your hygge moments and we can share our findings. Just message me anytime or follow me on facebook. This feels like a very good way to start a brand new year so the more of us that join in this wee experiment the better.
Wishing you all a very hygge New Year. xx