Winter is upon us, and with it comes shorter days, colder temperatures, and often, a general sense of malaise. In Scandinavia, however, there is a concept called hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) that encapsulates the pursuit of joy and coziness, even in the darkest and coldest of times. As the rest of nature slows down and hibernates during winter, embracing hygge can provide a balm to our souls, as we take the time to rest, reflect, and recharge.
The Great Winter Debate: Rest vs. Productivity
Some might argue that winter’s natural slowdown provides the perfect opportunity to ramp up productivity. With less distractions and competition, increasing stamina and output might seem like a smart move. Look at Taylor Swift, who recorded three albums during the pandemic and subsequently became a global sensation. She used the quiet time to excel and push forward.
Yet, there are numerous reasons to prioritize rest and rejuvenation during the winter months:
The need for sleep: Researchers have reported that humans require more sleep, particularly deep sleep, during the winter. Less sunlight and colder temperatures contribute to this need. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help achieve better sleep overall.
Taking advantage of downtime: Using the holidays and the winter months to relax, reflect, and recharge makes sense. The downtime enables us to renew our passions, rest, refuel our resources, and restore our physical and mental energy.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and mental health: Winter can be particularly challenging for those with SAD, as they experience hypersomnia, low mood, and a pervasive sense of futility during colder months. Depression is more widely reported, suicide rates increase, and workplace productivity tends to drop during January and February.
Embodying Hygge During Winter: Research, Reflection, and Balancing Perspectives
Despite the urge to continually push ourselves to achieve more, it’s important to recognize what we genuinely need, instead of what we think we should do. Science demonstrates that rest and lower productivity are natural human rhythms during the winter months, but if you find yourself energized and bursting with ideas like Taylor Swift, there is nothing wrong with embracing that drive.
However, for those seeking a bit more hygge in these cold months, consider these actions:
Intentional self-care: Engage in activities that bring you joy and coziness. This might include indulging in your favorite warm beverage, curling up with a book, or spending quality time with loved ones.
Mindfulness and reflection: Take some quiet moments to reflect on the past year and envision your intentions for the coming months.
Embrace the seasons: Recognize that life has its natural rhythms, and it’s perfectly okay to adapt your productivity levels according to those ebbs and flows.
A Call for Balance and Intentional Unwinding
As the end of the year approaches, I encourage you, especially if you’re a therapist or working in a high-stress profession, to find balance and embrace your current season. Consider these winter months as an opportunity to reflect, recharge, and prepare for the brighter, more active months ahead.
As you seek to incorporate hygge into your life and prioritize self-care, remember that happiness and contentment are not just reserved for the summer months. With intentional effort, we can find joy and coziness even in the darkest and coldest of times. So bundle up, light some candles, and embrace the Danish concept of hygge this winter season! Happy Holidays from all of us at [Company Name]. See you in the new year! #WinterHygge #CozyVibes #ReflectAndRecharge