5 Reasons You Should Start Living The Hygge Life (Especially If You Hate The Cold)

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Why I Started Living The Hygge Life And How It Changed Everything

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the wintertime. It may seem crazy but in order to understand why you'd have to know something about me.

I grew up in a hot climate and no, I don't mean three months of summer hot. I'm talking all-year long hot. No seasons and barely any break from the heat, except for possibly a few cooler days at the end of the year. And by cooler, I mean 70 degrees — which is basically still summer.

To many people, this kind of weather would be a dream come true. And for all of my friends, it was. So, of course, I usually pretended that I enjoyed the weather as well. But, I really didn't.

The heat actually physically affected me. It made my already way-long-enough school days feel even longer and at the end of the day left me feeling sweaty, tired, and even out of breath. And it didn't help that I was already overworked and overstressed. My courses at school were intense and I spent hours after school on homework. And all of my free time was spent either planning ahead for college, thinking about college, or scrambling to make plans with friends (because yes, having a social life is everything in high school).

I blamed the weather for all of my problems and vowed to never, ever live in a hot climate again. Every single one of my college applications was to a place I knew would have a change of seasons. I thought surely this would change things. 

I ended up going somewhere that did have a winter, but still not much had changed. I was still overworked and stressed and spent all of my time and energy focusing on my schoolwork and graduating as soon as I could. 

One day I stood by my window with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands watching the snow falling outside. It was so beautiful. I looked down at my fuzzy, warm socks, which were something I'd usually never admit to wearing to my friends — and in that moment, I felt happy. I was content and I really wasn't even doing much. And I realized that happiness wasn't just about living in a varied climate. It was about embracing it and more importantly, embracing who I was and what made me happy instead of trying to fit into some magical perception of happiness. 

In other words, I wasn't accepting my longing for living the hygge life. In case you aren't familiar with the term, hygge is a Danish philosophy loosely meaning coziness. Denmark takes their hygge seriously — so seriously that it's basically a lifestyle for them and helps them embrace and even cherish the winter. They aren't known as the happiest country in the world for nothing, you know.

I discovered that welcoming hygge into my life really did change a lot of things for the better. Here are some of the benefits I experienced while starting to live that hygge life.

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1. It makes you appreciate the smaller things in life.

This may seem cheesy, but it really is important not to take the little things in our lives for granted. I started to realize that it was these 'little' things that really made me happy. Something simple, like the smell of my morning cup of coffee or a warm pair of socks on my feet, gave me a feeling of enjoyment and serenity — which is a key part of hygge

This goes for our accomplishments, too. We often make the mistake of only celebrating the big achievements we make in life, but what about that feeling of pride you get when you've fixed a problem by yourself while living on your own for the first time or trying out a new recipe, regardless of whether it turned out exactly right or not? We deserve to be proud of ourselves more often and we should appreciate all of our efforts in life, no matter how small.

2. You get a chance to relax and recuperate.

Picture this: you're sitting by a warm fire with a hot drink in your hand, a cozy blanket draped over you and a good book in your hands. Oh, and it's not the holidays. That's right — it's just a normal day in February or March or... you get the idea. Even the most energetic people can't say that doesn't sound like an absolute dream.

We often put too much pressure on ourselves to constantly be active and doing something. But there's also something wonderful about not really doing anything. There's nothing wrong with slowing down and having a moment to ourselves every once in a while. It clears our minds, and who wouldn't want a chance for some relaxation amid all of the chaos of our daily lives?

There's also a little thing called getting burned-out. And it's a very real thing. I've learned that taking some quiet time for myself is extremely beneficial to both my health and happiness. 

RELATED: 9 Scary Warning Signs You're Completely Burnt Out

3. You learn how to prepare for and endure winter.

With winter comes brutal weather and the various complaints that follow: How long will my commute take? Will I even be able to get to work at all? I have to get up an hour early just to shovel the foot of snow off of my car. And the best one of all: It's so cold!

Don't get me wrong, I know how rough winter can be. Since I moved after high school, I've been through quite a few harsh winters. I still remember the summer before my freshman year of college, my parents took me shopping and bought me the biggest, puffiest white coat I had ever seen. I can still see myself rolling my eyes at it. Thanks, but I don't want to look like the abominable snowman while walking around my campus. Fast forward to that winter and I was wearing that amazing coat every single day — happily. When it's below zero outside with blowing snow, I don't really care what I look like. I just want to be warm and prepared.

I think this is our biggest problem when it comes to winter. We spend more time complaining about the weather than we do actually preparing for it. Winter-proofing your wardrobe is not hard and is a life-saver once the snow season comes around. If you prepare yourself for the season, you'll be much happier and warmer. You'll also be able to be outside for longer and enjoy the fun things you can only do in the winter. You don't want to be the one sitting freezing on the sidelines while your friends are having a blast ice skating. Being prepared equals contentedness. And that's totally hygge.

4. It changes the way we look at winter.

What is the most wonderful time of the year again? The holiday season, of course! 

One of the best things about hygge is that it treats winter like just one long holiday season. Many of the things that we do during the holidays are also the main elements for hygge. Candles, cozy sweaters and socks, hot drinks, blankets, and fireplaces are most commonly associated with creating the hygge atmosphere. Another connection between hygge and the holidays? Decorating! Organizing and decorating your home is crucial to achieving that hygge vibe. In fact, there's actually a specific type of decor that targets bringing hygge into your living space.

You don't have to always hygge alone either. In fact, a big part of hygge is being able to spend quality time with family and friends by just enjoying each other's company and relaxing together. Inviting the people you love over for a cozy night at home with great food and hot drinks is a perfect way to spend a cold winter night.

5. Hygge promotes self-care.

The most important aspect of hygge is its devotion to well-being. Hygge is about achieving a calm state of mind and body by helping you forget about the stresses in your life and anything that is emotionally overwhelming to you. Hygge also makes us feel comfortable and secure. In a life of unpredictability, this is a rare thing to feel and so important to our well-being. As humans, it's natural for us to want to feel safe and comfortable and hygge aims to make us feel this way, if only for an hour out of our busy days.

I think it's high time we start looking at winter in a different light. It is an entire season out of every year of our lives and who wants to spend a few months out of every year feeling down just because there's snow outside? Even if you're not willing to go full hygge, you can still incorporate some aspects of it into your life so that you're better prepared for winter. 

If we're going to follow anyone's advice about life, it may as well be from the happiest country in the world. Obviously, they're doing something right! Hygge on, everyone.

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Sloane Solomon is a professional writer and editor. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelors in English Writing. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her daydreaming in French about coffee, online shopping, travel, and baby animals.

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