The season of hygge

An open book in front of a fireplace - it must be hygge

My three winters in Copenhagen taught me the true value of hygge for coping with the long winter nights. A pop culture buzzword a few years ago, the Danish concept of hygge is hard to translate—despite many books valiantly making the attempt. The literal rendering of the word is being cosy, but the Danes embrace hygge as much more than woolly sweaters and an Instagramable wood fire. It’s about creating a sense of happiness and belonging, feeling content and safe and comfortable.

Yes, watching Netflix in your pyjamas can certainly be cosy, but solo binging the newest season of The Crown (how great is Olivia Colman?) misses out on the communal aspect of the Danish concept. Hygge is not just lighting candles for a gloom-busting glow, it’s sharing that glow with friends, family, and sometimes even strangers. It’s huddling around a Weihnachtsmarkt stall with a mug of something warm. Sharing a table at a quaint café or luxuriating in the warmth of a sauna. It might even be joining an event at Literatur Haus or relaxing with a slow-moving yoga class (perhaps with me at Younion Yoga in Kreis 6?). And yes, it’s sometimes drinking far too much and dealing with the jackhammers in your head the next morning—or at least that’s how the Danes do it!

With almost a month until the days start to get longer again and rain in the forecast (at least in Zürich) let hygge be your secret weapon to escape the darkness—without needing to get on a plane. Create a warm, welcoming atmosphere where ever you are, let yourself get snuggy, and make the most of the people and events around you to bring out those feelings of happiness and belonging.

No matter how you embrace the dark season, stay warm, stay dry—and enjoy the hygge!


Adapted from my original post at Impromptue.ch


Happiness on horseback

Laura on horsebackI went horseback riding on a recent vacation and remembered how happy it makes me. I took riding lessons as a kid and then returned to riding as an adult several years ago.

I rode once or twice a week for a few years and mostly loved it. Of course there were some days where things just didn’t feel comfortable, but overall riding thrilled me.

Then my stress levels skyrocketed at work and riding lessons became a chore. All the pressure I put on myself at work came through on horseback. I made the horses nervous, I got frustrated easily, and my hobby was no longer fun. I gave up riding.

I hadn’t ridden for two years when I got on Ginger at Makena Stables. All the enjoyment came rushing back and being on a horse was fun again 🙂

Now to see if there’s a way for me to continue horseback riding while not on vacation!

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.
~Ashley Montagu

Stop being unhappy with yourself

Randi from Samana Wellness posted the image below (originally from Just Smileology on Tumblr) yesterday and it resonated with that perpetual need to overcome self-doubt. On a beautiful sunny day, when the weather feels supremely confident, it feels very appropriate.

I’ve added capital letters and more punctuation because I couldn’t stand typing it out otherwise. That’s one of those quirks I love about myself 😉

Hey you.

Yes, you.

Stop being unhappy with yourself. You are perfect.

Stop wishing you looked like someone else or wishing people liked you as much as they like someone else.

Stop trying to get attention from those who hurt you.

Stop hating your body, your face, your personality, your quirks. Love them. Without those things you wouldn’t be you. And why would you want to be anyone else?

Be confident with who you are.

Smile. It’ll draw people in.

If anyone hates on you because you are happy with yourself, then you stick your middle finger in the air and say “Screw it.”

My happiness will not depend on others anymore.

I’m happy because I love who I am. I love my flaws. I love my imperfections. They make me ‘me.’ And ‘me’ is pretty amazing.

Here’s hoping that everyone finds that amazing confidence to love themselves just the way they are!