I really love the autumn and its transition to winter. The changing of leaves signal warmer colours and cooler weather and then the move from autumn into winter with crisp days and frosty air (perhaps even some snow).
This wasn’t always the case, in fact my previous feelings about the winter months lay firmly in the camp of resentment.
As a child, I used to dread the end of summer. It would signal the end of the seemingly endless holiday and the start of school.
There were many unexpected twists that came with getting older. Paying rent, becoming a registered taxpayer and having to pay for things that were once free were all shocks. But the biggest surprise for me was the realization that, as an adult, you were no longer automatically entitled to two months off from July through to September.
But even without the idleness of school holidays, my loyalty to summer continued. I relished the warmth of the sun beating down on a hot day. Ice creams, water fights, strawberries and the smell of freshly cut grass. Long, lazy summer evenings sitting outside with friends or family.
For me, the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and winter was always disappointing. I approached it with trepidation and resentment.
That was until I had some insights from a wise teenager, my 13-year-old cousin Miyoshi.
Embracing the Seasons
It turned out, that unlike myself, she loved the autumn and winter.
Whilst I lamented the loss of feeling the sun on my skin, she took pleasure from the comforting sensation of holding a hot drink with cold hands. She loved the feeling of cold air against her face and the relief of walking into a warm room. She looked forward to lazy weekends curled under a blanket because it was too cold to step outside.
Through her wisdom, I came to the realization that the winter months allow us to relish the simple pleasures of life. That there is beauty in all seasons and the key to contentment lies in appreciating it all.
The Concept of Hygge
Her philosophy is rooted in the concept of Hygge.
Hygge is a Danish idea which encompasses contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. The Scandinavians know what they’re talking about. The UN’s World Happiness Report shows a trend of Scandinavian countries consistently winning the title of the most content places on earth — even though they have a long, cold and dark winter.
Five Ways to Get Your Hygge On
Light candles, get out some blankets and turn down the lights. The key to hygge lies in creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.
2. Hot Drinks
Put the kettle on and get the mugs out. Hot drinks are a key component of Hygge.
Whether it’s baking or slow roasting something, take the time to find pleasure in cooking, ideally something that can cook slowly with minimum effort.
4. Get outside
Put on all of your layers and get outside. Walking, running or cycling, it doesn’t matter. The key is to connect with nature
5. Be Present
Whether it’s inviting friends over or spending the afternoon reading your favourite book, the key is to relax and enjoy whatever you’re doing.
By Dr. Farzana Rahman of www.HappyWiseWell.com