Winter Wellness: Using The Danish Ritual of Hygge To Eat, Celebrate and Keep Warm

Winter is in full swing and if you live in Ontario, you know that our little groundhog did, indeed see his shadow. That means 6 more weeks of winter…shocker!!

Winter is a time of quieting, warming and even hibernating. There’s nothing I love more than making a nice, heavy dinner and sitting with my family in front of a warm fire and watching a movie.

In Denmark, the practive of Hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) quite literally means coziness. The Danish know how to do winter right. Their long, dark season can be daunting and so they’ve developed this wintry practice of eating, celebrating, lighting candles, and getting together with friends.

I think I’ll be Danish in my next life.

But no matter where we live, we can bring this cozy ritual into our own lives. We can light candles at night instead of turning on lights. Hello! Energy savings!

We can arrange to get together with friends for tobogganing and hot apple cider.

We can do potluck dinners.

We can wrap ourselves in blankets and sit around a fireplace while we read a favorite book.

In essence, we can take this long, cold winter and turn it into a celebration of comfort and fun.

Here’s my ideal day in the life of a Hygge Winter:

It’s the weekend, so we have nowhere to go and nothing to do today. We get up, light a fire and put on some of our favorite music. We start to prepare a nice, hearty breakfast. These are delicious foods that remind us of our childhood but don’t spike out our blood sugar.

We make a batch of these amazing paleo waffles. We slather them with grass-fed butter and maple syrup that comes from the trees we can look at from our kitchen.

We eat in our jammies and brew up a hot pot of tea. I make a bowl of warmed berries to put on the table.  

After someone cleans up (okay, in my house it’s me), we get on our winter gear and get outside for some tobogganing and cross country skiing.

Afterwards, we come home to have this warming lamb stew with cinnamon and nutmeg. As night falls, we stoke the fire once again and go watch a movie under a blanket.

Be willing to slow down during this time of natural hibernation. You can take a weekend off. The kids’ activities can wait and obligations can be put aside until Monday.

Go cook yourself or your family something heavy and nutritious. And don’t skimp on the fat! Your body will love you for it, especially at this time of year.

Enjoy the quiet darkness of this introspective time. Draw the blinds. Light the candles and ask yourself what you want to prepare for the spring; that time when everything is reborn.

Give in to this restful and contemplative time and be willing to have some fun. The coziness will soon give way to the liveliness of spring and we’ll emerge from our hibernation, once again.

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