With the colder months, darker mornings and even darker evenings, many of us might suffer from the so called SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins in the fall and continues into the winter months, robbing your energy and making you feel moody. Thankfully, there is a cure and it is called HYGGE and NIKSEN.
Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh,”) is a Danish term defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Fairly difficult to translate, the term derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” During a stroll through our local library, I happened to find a book written by Meik Wiking called The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. I had a good laugh and I recommend this book to everyone who is affected by the lack of sunshine during colder months. This book was written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen - who else should know better?
Niksen or the Art of Doing Nothing
We parents are often upset when our teenagers just hang around, doing nothing. In fact, they are practicing ''niksen''- which literally means to do nothing, to be idle or doing something without any use (who would ever think this would become a thing). With the work moving from office to home due to pandemic, many employees, especially women (struggling to combine work, childcare and household), are suffering from burnout. But having moments of relaxation in these difficult times is absolutely crucial. Relaxation doesn't mean going to a spa, in fact, it can be combined with easy, semi-automatic activity, such as knitting, looking out of the window, taking a walk or simply mindfully drinking your tea.
Doing nothing can have positive outcome on your creativity and productivity as well. Research suggests that doing simple tasks that allow our mind to wander can foster creative problem solving, even improving our ability to work through a problem we might have been stuck on earlier.
How to live happier with Hygge and Niksen
Learn to appreciate the small things in life
If you are one of those people who is never satisfied and always craves more, you can't really grasp the meaning of hygge and niksen. If your basic needs are met, you and your family is healthy, you should pause every day to express gratitude. It can be a small ritual just before going to bed or early in the morning - think of all those things you are grateful for.
Live in the present moment
There is a quote in a kid's movie which has a deep wisdom to it: “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery, but Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present. ”
Life is not a competition
Even if it might look otherwise, life is not a competition. You don't have to have a bigger car, newer clothes or more up to date phone. When carer Bronnie Ware wrote a blog in 2009 listing the five things that most haunted her terminally ill patients, she was really surprised. People did not regret not having the newest plasma TV or IPhone. Their top five regrets were:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You don't have to do SOMETHING all the time
Before the era of smartphones, we were obliged to do ''niks'' (nothing). Standing in a line, waiting in the traffic jam, on the bus stop. Nowadays we grab our phones every free minute as we think we will miss out on something important. We won't. If you are not sure where to start, read this post.
Happiness is a choice. So, drink a cup of tea, grab a good book and live a hyggelig moment doing niks.
Looking for more ways how to up your mood when the weather is down? Read this article!