December 21, 2013

Keep Warmth In Your Heart {Self-Care Saturday}

It's less than a week before Christmas and SO easy to slip into "GO MODE" to get all of those last minute things done. Today I'm reminded to stay focused on the important things and keep warmth in my heart. 

I was recently introduced to the Danish term "hygge" - a vague concept that really doesn't translate into English, but has made Denmark the happiest country on earth, even though they have longer, darker winters than we do here in Minnesota.

Even though I have been saying "HIGGIE" like "JIGGIE" like "Gettin' Higgie Wit It" - it actually sounds more like HYU-gah - and it's even harder to translate!

Mother Nature Network says that hygge is originally a Norwegian word for "well-being" but has evolved into a big part of Danish life since then.  Related words like "coziness," "togetherness, " and "well-being" are just a part of what hygge means. "It's not a physical thing, but instead more of a mental thing," says Lotte Hansen from Denmark. "It's like a feeling, and it's big at Christmastime. The candles, the food, being with your family."

"My feeling is that American life is so rushed that we often forget about doing things and creating these events of hygge," says Michele McNabb, librarian for the Museum of Danish America. 

"Americans vary so much in their family connections and friend networks, but you have to slow down for it. Hygge is not something you can do in a rush."

The word is useful as a noun or a verb, McNabb adds — "you can hygge by curling up on the sofa with a good book" — and as an adjective by converting it to "hyggeligt" (HYU-gah-lee). It generally has a social component, but there are wide-ranging interpretations across Denmark, allowing it to describe anything from a person or a building to an ambience or sentiment

"It's often connected to some social thing, but also a house can be hyggeligt, or different places can be hyggeligt," says Hansen, who came to the U.S. from Denmark just a few months ago. 

So instead of reminding myself to keep warmth in my heart, I should say "keep hygge in your heart" and with all of you peace and hygge this weekend.

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