health, well being

What on earth is Hygge?

Good morning all. Its a beautiful sunny morning here in Belfast…i think spring has officially arrived. Today I am working later, so I thought it would be an ideal time to write a blog.  first I want to share my breakfast with you, well because it was totally awesome. Homemade granola (I will get the recipe up), coconut and almond milk, homemade strawberry and coconut cream and mixed berry compote… homemade also may I add. So you can go ahead and be a mixture of jealous and impressed, I allow you. See the whole Paleo thing doesn’t look too bad now does it?!

Today I want to talk about the concept of Hygge….pronouced Hooga (not higgie as it was introduced to me). The first time I heard about this hygge thing was when we met my brother and law and a friend of my husbands for coffee in Belfast city centre. It is a place called Established Coffee company, which is a cafe which prides itself in producing quality coffee and a cool, calm space for people to enjoy it in.  as we sat having coffee and chatted, my husbands friend remarked how “hygge” this was. Mickey Joe gave an explanation of what he felt hygge was, but all I heard was something about candles, and well I was sold to the idea..  Me being me, well I like anything a little out there, so I decided to do a little more research into what this hygge meant….

In essence, hygge is a Danish concept which compasses  enjoying the good things in life with good people, or you can experience hygge on your own also.  its about experiencing that warm and fuzzy feeling when doing an activity that is really and truly enjoyable, and provides a calming effect on your soul. Sounds airy fairy, I know, but its honestly a concept o think we should all adapt. The Danes are apparently (statistically) the happiest people in the world, even though they pay the highest taxes – so how can that be?! Well the Danish people adapt this hygge concept into their every day life. Often at the office, they have pastries and candles lit, to give an ambient working environment, which I guess boosts productivity…. this is read from The Little Book of Hygge, you should totally check it out. You will have a sudden urge to light candles everywhere.

Here are a few examples of Hygge activities in my life, that will maybe give you a better explanation of what it is…

  • A rainy Sunday afternoon, cuddled up on the sofa with hubby and dogs, candles lit, wood burning stove glowing, watching a rom com and falling into a lovely snooze
  • Saturday morning breakfast with hubby, in a nice cafe, eating good food, and yes, more tea (obviously)
  • Every Sunday seans family (a few aunts, uncles, his mum and dad, cousins) meet up in one of our houses, eat freshly warmed pastries, drink lots of tea and put the world to rights
  • A summers day, going for a walk with the dogs and smelling freshly cut grass
  • A 6:30am walk (yes you read that time right)… the world is still mostly asleep, roads are quiet… just you, two Labradors and the chirping birds. The light can be beautiful that time of the morning
  • Going for a coffee with my closest friends and chatting for hours
  • Time spent with my sisters, eating lunch or baking or making pancakes for brunch
  • A bubble bath with my favourite molten brown products, candles everywhere and a glass of wine, a long hot soak in a bubble bath can do wonders for your mood

All the things I have mentioned, all give me that warm and fuzzy feeling, a silent sense of contentment if you will. My husband cracks up because I light so many candles around the house, but for me, it makes me feel relaxed and at ease. But why include this in a blog supposedly about health, Paleo and IBS. Well let me tell you…

You can exercise til the cows come home, you can diet until your blue in the face, but the reality of it is, if you don’t get some sort of contentment in your life, all that stuff I have mentioned in previous blogs doesn’t matter. In order to manage my IBS, I need to keep my stress levels low, because believe it or not IBS is affected by stress. I feel like by introducing the concept of hygge into my life, its made me actively seek ways to keep my stress to a low, and to actually appreciate those little areas of contentment in our life.  I feel in this modern day society, so much is expected of us, to be a good wife, to be a good mother, to hold down a successful job, to be fit and healthy and strong, whilst also being a good homemaker, and quite frankly its exhausting (btw I am purely speaking on behalf on the female population at this point, quite frankly I have no idea what you men face.. you are an alien concept I am still figuring out).

So whilst diet and exercise are totally important in your life and definitely go a long way to improving your mental wellbeing (due to the fact it gives you focus and drive), but its also important to have hygglelig moments in your life.

So go, go take a hygglelig moment… run a bath, bake a cake, go for a coffee with friends, go buy ten thousand candles and light them all at one time. Chase that warm and fuzzy feeling that afterwards you will say “ah that was really nice”.

For me, right now, writing this blog for you guys whilst looking out at a lovely spring day with the dogs basking in the sunlight streaming through the windows is my hygge moment.








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