The Siren Song of Slow-Living Trends: Hygge and Self-Care
Two slow-living trends are helping me to transform an overly hectic life: Hygge and Self-Care. Like most of us these days, my life is overcharged. With family, business and social obligations, the batteries run dry, leaving me feeling overly-stretched and wanting to “turtle”. Consequently, the “hygge” and Self-Care trends that fill magazines, books and social media have more than caught my eye. Their compelling invitations to slow down life’s pace are siren songs to which I am attentively listening.
In a nutshell, Hygge is a slow-living trend that caught attention towards the end of 2016. With Denmark and Norway being chosen by the United Nations as the happiest countries in the world, the concept of “hygge” is worth exploring. Loosely translated, “hygge” is a pursuit of happiness concept that focuses on creating cozy, clutter-free homes with botanically-inspired décor, savouring the simple moments in life, embracing nature and spending laid-back time with friends and family.
Hygge aptly describes what the professional side of my life is all about. At Kate’s Garden, natural materials, plants and flowers inspire pretty much everything we do to enhance indoor and outdoor living. The hygge decorating style provides a tranquil refuge from the noise and haste of modern life. However, extending this simple concept to my personal life has been even more transformative.
Hygge’s biggest impact has been on how we entertain at home. To explain, our clan is very social. We are grateful for large, extended families and great social networks so we entertain frequently. Hygge has taught us to keep it simple. Though we are foodies, we’ve moved away from fussier gourmet fare to comfort food menus. Easy-reach appetizers, French comfort food and fruit cobblers are now my go-tos. In terms of décor, I love changing it up to celebrate each season, but simple floral arrangements and lots more candles make our guests just as happy as my previous more elaborate efforts. Hygge is all about not putting on the dog. My husband Jim and I recently noted that, with this more relaxed approach, our guests linger longer; always a bonus.
I have also jumped on board the Self-Care train; a second slow living trend. Like most women, I spend most of my days focused on others. To born or trained nurturers, Self-Care sounds a bit narcissistic. I know; talk about first world problems. Still, putting yourself second serves no one. Simply put, Self-Care is about calendaring regular time to focus on personal well-being: physical, mental, emotional and creative.
Each person must come up with their own recipe for Self-Care success. I am taking baby steps but loving the results. My current Self-Care equation involves eating cleaner, exercising consistently often outdoors, drinking tons more water and calendaring time to spend with close friends. In terms of improving emotional health, two key mantras guide my efforts to be more graceful under pressure: Be Relentlessly Kind and Embrace Radical Acceptance. These phrases help me to breathe, pause and think before I respond to stressful situations. But, the biggest Self-Care breakthrough is allowing myself a couple of hours each weekend to draw and paint. This brief period of weekly creative respite attempting to improve lack lustre skills gives me such joy. Our visual artist instructor Linda Hook recently taught us some mindful breathing techniques and some terrific hand warm-up exercises that help to slow me down…and unhook too.
Hygge and Self-Care have inspired many of the workshops this Harvest season at Kate’s Garden. One of our key goals of our collective of talented staff and instructors is to provide time and space for creativity. Check out our Self-Care September offerings here.