It’s been a very introspective kind of weekend and I’ve been lost in a lot of thought and soul searching. In between social gatherings, seeing family, friends and having a few too many glasses of rum. Oy vey. But – I compiled a list of lessons that I learned this year and am making some promises to my future self.
I thought I would share them here. Not only for accountability, but to help inspire others to do the same. I may have written this out in haste last night after a couple of glasses of rum. I woke up at 6 am this morning, wide eyed, and in a better mind set.
I love early mornings when it’s still dark out. The world is quiet. I’ve got the fireplace roaring. A hot cup of coffee. Quiet music in the background. And the world around me is still silent. Or maybe that’s the noise canceling headphones.
Note: this isn’t aimed at any one person in particular. Just some lessons I learned since coming back to the scene.
You can’t be friends with everyone. Not everyone is going to like you
I learned this lesson last time I was out in the scene. There are going to be haters. People that you just don’t see eye to eye with. But you choose to either avoid them, not share your space with them – or learn to communicate in a respectful manner. Sometimes avoiding is just easier.
Don’t lose yourself in relationships
This I still struggle with. Sometimes I lose a bit of myself when in relationships. I’m a people pleaser. I like to see my partners happy. I tend to put others needs before my own. And when that relationship ends, it feels like I’ve lost a part of myself. Which, I guess, is partially true. But the lesson now is to learn to take better care of myself. Treat myself as I would my partner.
When someone asks you for something, give it to them
When someone asks for space or time to think about things, let them have the space or time. My anxiety is terribly for this. I’m an anxious attachment that works better with secure attachments. I tend to make things worse by trying to fix them, instead of just letting them be. I’m not needy. I’m not this clingy person. But when conflict arises, I suddenly lose all reason. And the irrational side of my brain kicks in. Panic and fear takes over. I make things worse than they are. Until eventually, I push people away. And I’m tired of doing this to myself and to others.
It’s okay, not to be okay sometimes. But don’t isolate.
Fight or flight mode is high when you have anxiety. My initial gut reaction is to just hide with my feelings. I can sometimes go for days without speaking to people. Or at least I used to. Now I have people that reel me back in. I want to work at being a better friend and being there for them – and not solely obsessing over my own problems. Isolation makes things way fucking worse.
It’s okay to be okay, but DO ask for help or support, or a hug when needed. Right now – I’m getting there. Slowly. Day by day.
Keep on writing, and creating things
Instead of turning to music and art during emotionally challenging times, I should just work with my hands and keep busy ALL of the time. It’s something I love and people love seeing my work.
Get back into handmade crafts. Sell some bracelets. Do some painting. Write some music. Do more baking and cooking. Entertain more. Get busy with it, girl.
Size doesn’t matter when it comes to play
One thing I am grateful for, is that there were people who showed me I could have relationships and play even given the size I am right now. I’ll never be thin or athletic. I need to lose weight for health reasons. But it shouldn’t STOP me from enjoying the things in life I want to enjoy.
It’s okay to make mistakes
I made some mistakes this year. I’m working on making amends and doing the right thing. I take every mistake as a learning opportunity. Some mistakes cost me A LOT. And some I’m still healing from. What I can promise to myself, is to do better at apologizing and communicating in a way that is effective and also works for the other party. I also need to learn to forgive myself, even if the other person doesn’t.
Let go of what no longer serves you purpose
This is the hardest lesson of all. I get attached easily to new relationships and friendships. I’m the type of person who wants to make things right. I have my limits and my boundaries, like everyone does – but I don’t give up easily for those people I really care for. And sometimes it hurts like hell that people are so easy to just walk away from connections. It’s not easy for me.
Even if it’s the right thing to do at the time, it’s not easy. I struggle with letting go. Even if there are no more reasons to stay.
There are more things I’ve thought about – but I think that’s a good list. Writing is a passion of mine. I do have a blog that I don’t share here (stalker issues). Communication was going to be my career before I got sick. So, I’ll get back into blogging and sharing informative articles here too.
This is a repost….I love my Hygge home. But decorating is put on hold until Christmas due to finances!
Since moving into my new home seven months ago (hard to believe) – I’ve been almost obsessed with making it feel like home. This is a continuous work in progress. I couldn’t understand my desire or need to make it feel like home. At least until one of my Danish cousins kept saying, “That’s so Hygge!” on my condo photos that I was sharing on social media.
For those of you who don’t know, I come from a family that has a very strong European background. My dad’s family is Danish as far back as it goes. We’ve traced our history back 200-300 years. My mother’s family was English and Irish mostly. We have some German in our background but we don’t know which side – probably dad’s family at some point.
Even though our family has been in Canada since the 50’s, they are Danes at heart. One of the reasons I accepted the volunteer gig as an organist at the Danish church, was to learn more about Danish music and the culture. The Danes love their food, baking, good wine, and getting together with family and friends. Music is also a huge part of the Danish culture and it explains why I’ve always felt passionate about it. My father played the piano and violin as a kid. His dad played all the instruments he could get his hands on. And my grandmother loved to write silly songs and poems for special events. My aunts were all wonderful singers. We have a very talented family.
So, on this Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would share with you what being Hygge means and how it applies to me. A half Dane living in Canada. I hope you’ll stick around with me as I explore this important part of my culture.
Lighting is still a work in progress. I will be getting some white lights for Christmas and some LED candles.
Updated with fall decor:
What is Hygge
If you’re on TikTok, and you’re into home projects, you’ve probably come across videos with the hashtag #hyggehome. The Hygge lifestyle has become a major trend in recent years. But what is Hygge exactly?
Hygge, pronounced hooga, is sort of a way of life for the people of Denmark and Norway. It’s about being happy, focusing on the simple things in life – and bringing comfort into your home.
“Why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your life?”
Being Hygge is more than a feeling of comfort or coziness, it’s about being present and living in the moment. It’s about enjoying all the little things in life. It’s about finding happiness in every day things like food, wine, and spending time with loved ones. There is no one word in English to describe the meaning of Hygge.
Winters are harsh in Denmark with cold, dark and rainy days. They don’t get snow like we do here in Canada which can make winter really pretty. And since Denmark is so high up north, they get very little sun in winter months. Hygge was created to help the Danes get through the long cold winters.
I realized as I was sitting in my sister’s home yesterday and enjoying her Hygge home, that the lifestyle was something I had always longed for. I just didn’t understand what is was. And the more my cousins brought it up, the more curious I got about learning what it all means.
Hygge isn’t about selling or buying things, it’s not about furnishing your home – it’s about — living. A simple state of just being in the moment and being present.
“A defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA. What freedom is to Americans – hygge is to the Danes.” – Meik Wiking
Being Hygge in your home, means making it comfortable and cozy for yourself, and for guests. Socializing is a huge part of the culture in Denmark. Instead of going out for dinner, many Danes feel more comfortable being in their own homes, cooking food and spending time with family.
How can you make your home more Hygge? It’s pretty easy – and won’t cost very much. Add some textiles like throw blankets and cushions. Create a library nook – a cozy area for you to read in. Light a fire if you have a fireplace. Replace harsh lighting with soft bulbs, candles and salt lamps. This is going to be my next purchase for my bedroom project!
Wear fuzzy socks on a cold winter day, drink a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, light a fire, bake some fresh bread – and read a book. This here, is the very essence of being Hygge. Listening to music is also a huge part of daily life. I almost always have music on when I’m writing or in the morning as I’m eating my breakfast and reading the daily news.
Just reading these suggestions, you might be thinking to yourself, “Am I Hygge? I do this already!” Well, then you might have just had your aha moment like I did this weekend.
Candles and lighting
Candles have always been an integral part of Danish culture. As a kid at Christmas time, I remember marveling at the candle shaped lights on my grandmother’s Christmas tree. We would dance around the tree and sing carols on Christmas Eve. That was followed by eating lots of good food, pastries and opening presents.
During long winter months, candles are an inexpensive way to light your home and create a cozy ambiance. I’ve always found bonfires and candles to be comforting. I love lighting candles when I’m outside at night time. It reminds me of simpler times as a child in a Danish family.
Denmark is a country that is obsessed with lighting. Subtle lighting through LED lights, candles and salt lamps are used to make a home more welcoming and create a sense of intimacy. The word candles in Danish is translated to, “living light.”
If you want to get even more specific, there are Hygge candles that have a Scandinavian design with natural and bright colors. A truly Hygge candle is one that is unscented, and made from natural products like wood wicks.
Harsh bulbs like florescent lighting is hard on the eyes and not welcome in most Danish homes. If you can, go for natural lighting where possible. And if you don’t have access to large windows, then use softer lights with orange or yellow bulbs.
This is on my shopping list for my bedroom. My accent colors are coral, orange and pink.
I did some research and salt lamps are a lot of work. I’m going with led lamps instead.
Bring the outside inside
Adding a little more Hygge to your home means bringing things found outside into your home. That means storing things like firewood by your fireplace, filling your living room with green plants and flowers. Starting a small herb garden in your kitchen. Or letting natural light into your home with large windows. You can use pumpkins, pine cones and leaves as part of your decor. You can also add things like pussy willow, wheat and other natural decor to help you connect with nature.
I think this is why I’ve loved having my balcony this summer. There’s a huge tree right next to me and it’s beautiful. The entire area is surrounded by lots of mature evergreen and sap trees. I know it will look beautiful once the leaves start turning color. All my plants and flowers died due to the hot weather this year, so I am looking for plants that can survive the dark winter months. I think maybe a few succulent plants and some ivy might work well. I’m pulling pictures from Pinterest for inspiration. I love this fireplace set up.
Comfort food and family dinners
Connecting with family and loved ones is also part of being Hygge. A common tradition is to eat dinner together as a family. But in these modern times with cell phones and mobile devices, an important piece is to put away the devices during these family moments. Gathering the family together to prepare a home cooked meal is also a great Hygge experience.
Our family used to have weekly dinners where everyone pitched in with cooking. Cell phones were not allowed during the meal. And everyone pitched in with dishes. It’s something I miss deeply about the house and my mum. What I wouldn’t give to taste her pot roast and Yorkshire pudding again. Family dinners were always a blend of Danish tradition and English treats.
Preparing comfort foods like soups, stews and casseroles, or roasts and vegetables are also part of the Danish culture. The Danes have this delicious dumpling soup that my grandmother would make on special occasions. It’s been years since I’ve had it.
Pastries are also a popular tradition in Denmark. Filling your home with the aroma of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and using ingredients like marzipan is a great way to add a little Hygge to your daily life.
This is one thing I look forward to every fall. Soups, stews and hot casseroles. I think for me it’s more about comfort and remembering my mum in the kitchen.
Bread is a kitchen staple in Denmark. Many of my Danish friends make their own breads. Rye bread is very common to have with open faced sandwiches (smorrebrod). Or you can whip up a batch of scones to pair with your freshly brewed soup.
If you want to learn more about the Hygge way of life, then I recommend reading a few of the Hygge books. You can order them from any book store. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking is a popular book for the Hygge lifestyle. It’s a perfect read for a chilly or rainy fall day. Curl up with a cozy blanket, hot cup of coffee or cocoa, light some candles, and enjoy.
Thank you for reading!
Thanks for reading. I’ll be sharing posts and ideas on how to decorate your home and make it more Hygge. I’ve entered a nesting phase of my life. I’m not able to work due to health issues and a physical disability – and so having a cozy and comfortable home is extremely important. My family is becoming more and more important to me as time goes on. I’m looking forward to cooking dinners and creating new home memories with them all.
I’m excited to share this journey with you. Please follow my blog if you’re interest in learning more about my Danish heritage, my passion projects such as music and art – and recipes for comfort food, healthy baking and more!
I write often – so you can expect almost daily posts from me. It’s my therapy. And part of being Hygge.
Follow blog now!
If you’d like to help contribute to this blog, or buy a gift for my Hygge project – then feel free to check out my Amazon Wish List. I accept gift cards too! Or you can donate via Paypal.
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The other week, I responded to a question in Ask Reddit and for once, it was a really good question. I’ve lost track of it now, buried far deep in dozens of comments and replies. But the gist of the question was this:
I can’t cry. I want to cry. I know I should cry. But I can’t cry. How can I teach myself to cry?
My response was fairly short, as I was on my phone. If I’m commenting using my phone, responses are short because I’m all thumbs when it comes to texting. It’s legitimately painful. I’m better at a computer with a keyboard. And so, I kept my response to short, but to the point. And then, like many other comments, I walked away from it and forgot about it until the next day.
Well, my phone had blown up with over 30 comment responses overnight. I had received a couple of rewards and over 1000 upvotes. It’s crazy how fast those things can add up over comments you don’t think are important.
What fueled my response was thinking back to my mother’s death. The days leading up to her death, spent with the family curled up in her hospital room – I was comfortably numb. To coin a phrase. I didn’t cry on the day she died. I teared up. But the tears dried quickly. They were more like dry sobs. If that’s a thing.
The funeral came. I let out one heavy sob when my dad started crying. And then nothing. For weeks, no tears would come. I remember chatting with Greg about it one night and I said, “I think there’s something wrong with me, I can’t cry.”
Greg had known me during my worst years, when I could cry over dropping a glass of milk. That was due to a hormonal imbalance. I know that now. I remember he called me and said, “They will come. Just be kind to yourself. They will come. And when they do, I’m here for you.”
It was – one of the sweeter moments of our relationship.
So, what was my comment that received so many upvotes?
“Crying is therapeutic. It’s a healthy thing to do that helps to release emotions. Just pop in a feel good movie and have a good, ugly cry.”
I had no idea the comments section would spark so much – healthy discussion about crying. I received so many suggestions for movies that made other people cry. There was a good amount of Pixar movies in the mix and people were shocked when I mentioned Toy Story.
I’m telling you – as an older person, that movie hits hard at times. Especially the last installment. Or maybe it’s the soundtrack.
This discussion left me with lots of thoughts about crying. Why is crying so good for us? Why does it feel so good to finally cry after a long period of not being able to?
Crying is a cathartic release
Crying is a way to release emotions through a healthy and natural response. It’s a way to purge ourselves clean of emotional baggage that may bog us down. Whether it’s a response to emotional or physical trauma, grief, loss of a loved one, or just an extremely stressful day – crying can be a good way to release those feelings that you weren’t even aware you had.
A more scientific mind would tell you that crying releases endorphins. These are feel-good chemicals that can help with lessening of emotional or physical pain.
But men aren’t supposed to cry
My father was one of those proud men that never seemed to show his emotions in front of us. He rarely got angry and the few times he did shout – you knew you were in real trouble. I’ve only seen my dad in his younger years, cry twice. Once was at his mother’s funeral. Later, it was his sister’s funeral. That was hard to watch. My mother couldn’t be with us that day, and I had to be his “rock” or shoulder to cry on. It was a position I gladly accepted, for he had held my hand many times when I cried. Now with late stages of Parkinsons, he can become very over emotional and cry at a memory. It doesn’t take much with him. It’s really hard to watch.
Dad grew up in the era that “real men weren’t supposed to cry” and we got used to not seeing men cry. I’ve only seen my brother cry a couple of times too. One of those days was when my mom died.
(please continue reading…before commenting).
It’s okay to cry
What I’ve come to learn as an adult, is that it’s okay for people to cry. No matter what age, gender, or what the reason might be – we should ALL be able to tear up or cry without judgment from others. I mean, if anything, holding in all those emotions for all those years, can’t be good for a body. If crying releases endorphins, then just imagine 50-60 years of emotional trauma trapped inside.
I used to be one of those people. I found it hard to talk about my emotions or feelings without getting angry about them. This blog has helped so much with that. It is my therapy. My cathartic release. And sometimes, reading comments can even make me cry. But that is a very rare thing.
How can I learn to cry
For me, these days, with anxiety and dealing with health issues, I find crying easy to do. Maybe a little too easy. All I have to do is think about my mom. Or my dad. Or anyone I’ve lost over the years. Sometimes it’s a good romance movie like PS I Love You or While You Were Sleeping. Or Disney movies like Lion King and Wall-E get me every damn time.
If that doesn’t work, try listening to music. I have entire playlists dedicated to those rainy days. I have songs that remind me of my mom or another special moment in my life. Songs like “Say Something” or the one that I played at my mother’s funeral, “Wind Beneath my Wings,” or the Danish song, “Day by Day” – these are all songs that evoke emotion in me and make me tear up.
Find that one song that makes you think of that moment in your life. Whether it was the loss of a friendship, the loss of a pet, loss of a loved one. Or just a really bad day that you had. Sometimes stress can make us feel over emotional, and crying can be a good release for that.
If those methods don’t work, then meditate. Think of what makes you really emotional. Clear out all other thoughts and just focus on those memories. Think of other people that you care about.
Just be still with your emotions.
The tears will come. When they’re meant to.
And if none of these tricks work, then this one almost always does it for me too. Eight years later, still makes me cry.
It would be irresponsible of me to post a disclaimer. While crying is a healthy release, crying every day – might be an indicator that something is wrong. If you are grieving, consider talking to a healthcare professional. Grief comes in many forms. I’ve written about this before. If you think you are crying more than usual, please consider seeking professional help.
This is a repost. I think it’s good information to share every now and then. You can also read my post on The Art of Self-Care.
Just a short post today. It’s been a lousy few days. Tired. Stressed. And contemplating when things started heading south. Last month – things were amazing. But the past two weeks, since I got bronchitis, it seems like my whole world has come crashing down. And I’m not sure how to pull myself out of this funk.
So, I thought I’d share some tips on how I survive bad days like today – when it seems like the entire world is crashing around you all at once. Ever feel like you’re drowning and you can’t get out of the water? Yeah, that’s where we are today. I’ve sunken to a new low.
But then I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be a new day. I’ll feel rested. And it will be a new day.
How do I cope on days like this? The routine isn’t all that complicated really. It’s pretty easy. Even you can do this.
Coping tips for really, really, bad days.
Make a nice hot cooked meal like my mum used to make.
It reminds me of her. There’s just something about the taste of a roast beef soaked in gravy, a side of roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. Really. Nothing makes me feel like “home” more than this.
Watch animals and babies do funny things on YouTube
Watch dogs and cats doing silly things. Find funny videos of babies laughing. Laughing really is the best medicine. Also, watching people falling – video compilations. I shouldn’t love these as much as I do. But they really perk you up. Or maybe I’m just sadistic that way.
Reach out to a friend in need
Call a friend and chat with someone who is also going through a difficult time. Misery loves company. But sometimes you just need to vent to someone who understands. I did this when I got home. Had a good chat with a colleague and I feel a little better now. I’m not the only one going through a rough patch. We’ve all been there.
Find comfort – hot bath, soak in a hot tub or steam room
Having a warm bath with epsom salts really does work wonders on stress. Dim the lights. Bring out the candles. Lower yourself into the tub. Lean back with a water pillow. Put a facecloth over your eyes. And just relax. Block the rest of the world out. You deserve this.
Pour yourself a hot up herbal tea or a warm cup of cocoa
Polish the night off with a hot cup of Chamomile or Lemon tea. Chamomile is a herb that helps you wind down. It can also help you sleep. Fun fact – you can also use cool Chamomile tea for for a skin rinse. Not a tea drinker? No problem. A warm cup of cocoa can help. Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to top it off. A few marshmallow if you’re not on a diet – to sweeten the deal.
Shut the world out -with music
Sit back in your reclining or rocker chair. Your couch or bed will suffice. Grab your noise canceling headphones. Turn on your favorite movie. Close your eyes. Let the soothing sounds of an acoustic guitar or dreamy instrumentals take you to another world.
Tell me, what do you on when you have a bad day? How do you cope?
For me – it’s always going to be music. And on that note – I hear my bed calling my name.
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