Well, at least in the Northeast. We took a quick turn from 70 degree eerie weather to cold and dry. And now, the chapped lips, dry hands and "it's way too cold to walk out barefoot season" has begun. This season reminds me of the holidays... the preparation, the expectations, the overwhelm, the stress... and at the same time the need for cozy comfort, nostalgia and tradition. Balancing the two can be tricky, and I think many of us lose to the stress and overwhelm quite often. Many of us "just get through the holidays." For what? The months of cold and bare trees? My west coasters, this is where you rejoice. What if we could make this year different? What if this is your year to look forward to the holidays and the winter months? I have some ideas, and they don't include jet setting to a tropical island.
In my last post, I quickly mentioned hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), the Danish practice of being cozy, comfortable, and finding happiness through simple pleasures. Think lots of candles, comfy socks and blankets, off-white and beige colors, friends, family, warm, comforting (and healthy) foods. This practice can be brought into our daily lives with ease, and it can take on different forms for each one of us.
For me, it's lots of fairy lights, especially the ones with the gold string. I freaking love those things. I love tea, the flavors that don't curdle milk, because I also love a lil' cream. Candles, another favorite- love the ones that smell sweet and kind of like cookies or maple syrup. Also love fiction books, like the real ones that you flip pages, that's a new found cozy practice for me, it seems I forgot about them for the last 15-20 years. Sprucing up the home around this time of year- love wood, greens, and nordic decor. Try finding or buying one thing this week that can bring in this feeling of comfort, and go from there.
Next tip to beat the stress and overwhelm, ground yourself, relax your shoulders, and zip up your energy before you go into the hustle and bustle of "holiday shopping." Even if it's not actually shopping for gifts... what is it about the energy from Nov 1st until Jan 1st?? It's not fun for me, never has been. You always have way too many layers on, even if you left your jacket in the car and you're wearing a short sleeved shirt in 30 degree weather. People are running around sweating and the lines are long... and you always have too many bags in your hands. If it's online shopping, there's still a sense of urgency, guilt for wasting money, mindless spending, and a black hole of clicking from one site to the next making sure you're not missing anything.
Lastly, eat well. Look for ways to find that cozy, warm feeling without overeating and drinking too much. Enjoy? Yes, absolutely. But stay grounded while enjoying. Don't allow the "I deserve it, it's the holidays" voice to take over. You deserve to take care of your body and be mindful of how sugar and alcohol and the "fun foods" inflame your body. So, eat and drink consciously to decrease the stress it puts on your body... this often turns into a feeling of anxiety! And... stay hydrated.
Here are few of my favorite ways to bring in comfort throughout my day. When I see these, I take a deep breath. I relax my shoulders, and I enjoy the little fleeting retreat from an otherwise busy day. I also apply chapstick.