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Hygge: Warmth in the Cold

As the weather shifts to the cold and rainy atmosphere winter is so very well known for, many prepare in the typical ways. Stocking up on blankets and coats, waterproof boots and umbrellas, checking on leaks and gutters.

But how are people preparing emotionally?

Indeed, the weather and seasons have a larger effect on our mind than many would think, beyond feeling maybe a bit down at yet another wet day.

How so?


First, we'll talk about the direct and indirect effects of weather on mood.

Firstly, light itself regulates our circadian rhythm and hormone production. While there is always light outside, the amount of it can have a direct impact on how we produce hormones. Light specifically affects the production of melatonin, the chemical that makes us feel tired and ready for a nap. Sleep, as you can read in other articles on our blog, is a very fragile thing.

As anyone who's had a sleepless night can tell you, even after one night of no sleep, our mood changes drastically. Irritability, mood swings, sadness, and anger, are all only some of the complex emotions people may experience after a night of no sleep.

When light disturbs our circadian rhythm and affects the quality of our sleep, we get these symptoms in small doses. However, they build up quickly. It's why a once in a while nap can quickly turn into a need for a nap every day, or how staying up once in a while can cause an entire sleep schedule change.

Not to mention, the separate effects lack of sleep has on memory, ability to learn, and insight.

Not only does sleep affect mood, but mood affects sleep, making it a problematic cycle that feeds on itself. Anxiety and stress can both make it far harder to sleep than it normally is. Relaxing can be very difficult when you're worrying.

Secondly, when it's cold and raining outside, many people will not want to go outside. That's understandable, of course, but it still restricts the amount of natural light we receive, the amount of fresh air we receive. While the lack of going outside is not usually enough to affect mood heavily, combined with the lack of natural light, can often combine to make a rather gloomy and depressed mood. Of course, when one feels depressed, getting outside is even harder, further compounding on itself.

So, how do we fix this?


Hygge comes from the Norwegian word 'hugga', which means to comfort or to console. While hygge itself is said to have no direct English translation, the closest we can get is the feeling of coziness.

Some of the key features of hygge are relaxation, indulgence, comfort. While you can practice hygge alone, many Danes say hygge is much, much better when practiced with others.

Many say hygge developed in response to long cold winters with hardly any sun or the ability to go outside, as we experience now!

There are many ways to practice hygge, and it's all unique to the individual. But, here are some ideas to get you started!


The warmth, the soft, flickering light that's so different than the harsh fluorescents or LEDs so many are accustomed to inside their house, is a very easy way to practice hygge. While you should always remember to practice fire safety, a few well-placed candles can do wonders to ensure a house feels cozy and warm.

Next, is food. Hygge is best done by eating warm, homemade meals. Taking a break from a strict diet to enjoy a warm slice of cake, or a meaty stew can do wonders for the soul. In fact, even sharing popcorn can be considered hygge.

While simple meals are hygge, fancy meals or salads are less so, though if they bring you comfort, by all means.

Thirdly, make a little nook for yourself. With plenty of warm blankets and pillows, finding a cozy corner to sit in, drink tea and read a book in, is very hygge.

There's nothing like cozying up underneath a heated blanket, in comfortable sweats, a good drink, and reading a book. Even better is when you have someone to join you.

Finally, making sure your bed is comfortable enough that you are getting good sleep at night, maintaining your sleep schedule, and filling your days with calming, but engaging activities can really help improve mood. While it may be tempting to sleep all day, it will ruin your sleep schedule, make you miss the few hours of sunlight we may have, and make it harder to practice good habits that set you up for success.

Finding eco-friendly beds, sheets, and candles has never been easier before now! Not only will you be comforted in these cold winter months, but you can also do so knowing you're contributing to the long-term health of the planet!

Natural and organic products may also increase your own health and wellbeing, being free of toxic and harmful chemicals that can cause various illnesses, even further bringing down your mood. It's tough to be cheerful when you're sick, afterall.

Good luck with these winter months, and happy holidays to everyone!

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