Did you know that Scandinavian nations are some of the happiest on the planet? Quite a feat when you consider that in Winter they have to put up with many more dark than daylight hours. So what makes them so happy? Well quite simply it’s the little things.
Focussing on small pleasures gets them through hibernation, so equally I think it applies to getting through lockdown, especially on these grey, dreary days.
Get outside at least once a day
It’s so important to get outside every day, at least once a day, no matter the weather. The Danish say “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” Getting out in the fresh air is fantastic for your mental health as well as your physical health. Try and set yourself a step count goal of 10,000 and see if you can do it – no pressure though, this is about enjoyment more than slog.
Coffee & Bakes
Make your coffee break something to look forward to. Whether it’s a break from work, or homeschooling, don’t sit at your desk. Make a nice drink and treat yourself to a biscuit or two and go and sit in a different room for 10 minutes. It’s better still if you do the baking. Getting lost in the process of making something is so therapeutic so set aside a couple of hours on the weekend and have a look through your favourite cookery book, or online and see what you want to make. Don’t think about healthy, think about indulgent. Remember you can walk it off on your outdoor adventures.
Candles, lots of candles
Turn out the big light and create an atmosphere. Light candles, at least 5 of them if you want to be like a true Scandinavian. I’m taking pleasure in buying beautifully scented candles online. It really gives me something to look forward to when it starts to go dark. If you are feeling extra indulgent, candles in the bathroom are even better. Here’s one of my favourites. I’m also loving these diffusers at the moment, because we are at home, it’s so important to make it a lovely atmosphere.
Woolly socks and a real fire
We are lucky enough to have a log burner that we put into our house in 2019 and we absolutely love it, particularly at this time of year. Nothing beats the warmth of a real fire, but if you don’t have one don’t worry. Find a cosy nook in your home that you can snuggle in blankets and put a pair of woolly socks on for a real feeling of hygge. Try these authentic lambswool blankets by Klippan and these cashmere bed socks by Johnstons of Elgin.
Books and Board Games
Put away the electronics and loose yourself in a good book, or break out the Monopoly and sit round the table with family to play games and spend quality time together. Look upon it as an opportunity to spend time with the ones you love rather than being limited to what you can do.
Focus on Community
Focussing inwards is never a good thing for mental health, so if you have time on your hands, order yourself a cheap litter picker from eBay, get outside in your local area and do a litter pick. It will give you a real sense of achievement and instantly lift your spirits. If you have any other ideas to lift the spirits, let me know in the comments. I’ve taken my inspiration from 2 books – The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking and North by Bronte Aurell.