Passionate About Cincinnati
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Four Ways to “Hygge” Through Winter

The seasons of summer, fall, winter and spring create a personal love affair specific to themselves. Each one holds its own special meaning of home to the heart and soul. Growing up in the South and also living in Africa, my spirit gravitates toward seasons of warmth and of outdoor exploration, so the long, dark winter days are a stretch for me when outdoor time is limited and my body wrestles with frigid temperatures.  Although I do love winter apparel and the connection of the holidays, my soul care fluctuates to feel the same as in the warmer months. Mothering during constant blustery days is a deep challenge for me as tensions arise in my spirit and I find myself anxious and edgy. This inward exploration for how I can transition well as winter approaches led me to this beautiful Danish word, “hygge” {Hu-guh}, that I would love to share with you.

T.Ralston Photography "find ways to laugh together"T.Ralston Photography "find ways to laugh together"
T Ralston Photography "inviting presence of warmth"T Ralston Photography "inviting presence of warmth"
T Ralston Photography "Take a Walk or bring outside elements inside"T Ralston Photography "Take a Walk or bring outside elements inside"
T Ralston Photography  "share a meal with loved ones" T Ralston Photography "share a meal with loved ones"

I loved learning about this word, hygge, and the culture of “connection, comfort and contentment” it calls out in a heart. It is defined as “(n.) The art of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. Enjoying life’s simple pleasures. A coziness of the soul.”

When I first began my search, I ran across pictures of burning candles, warm socks, books, outdoor elements, roaring fires, cups of warm drinks (picture the cottage in the movie, The Holiday) and the warmth of it all encouraged me to dig in deeper into its meaning.

As I searched through testimonials of hygge, I read about a lifestyle where families and individuals are learning how to celebrate the everyday and take pleasure from the simple things in life. I witnessed a community of people slowing down, belonging to the moment and to each other while engaging in hospitality and meaningful conversation. It is about creating the atmosphere, carving out the time, and intentionally choosing graciousness and gratitude, no matter the season that you are in. I wear many hats in my everyday life (mother, wife, entrepreneur and friend among them) and hygge is about finding the balance that allows me to slow down and connect in the places that matter most to my heart.  Busy does not have to equal chaos and disengagement with my people. 

So how does a family hygge amidst a busy season where the list is longer than the hours and taking the time slow down seems almost impossible? It is done with an intentional effort to carve out spaces and times together. 

My search for “wintering well” led me to writing a list of how to hygge with my family, so here are four ways for you to consider:

*This list is TECH FREE*

When weather allows, take a family walk together (even if a brief one).

If blustery days do not allow a walk, then bring outdoor elements inside that will provide a calming sense of nature. Place fresh flowers from the market on table. Gather twigs, leaves, rocks etc. and have family craft night making scenes of adventures together. 

In a season where being outside is limited, indoor home time ushers a need for creativity. 

Carve out some nights (at least once a week) for family game nights. Choose an activity that you’re all interested in, but also encourages interaction.  If you have a fireplace, light a fire and play near the inviting warmth.

As a family, write up a dinner menu (kids are helping so it can be simple, easy to prepare, whatever you decide) and have the whole family prepare a meal together. 

Turn some music on, because dancing and singing in the kitchen together is our fav! Invite loved ones over or someone you are wanting to know better. Make the table fun and inviting and allow the kids to serve your guests with you.

Take advantage of car rides. 

Find a cheap car diffuser (if you love essential oils like I do) and put in your favorite scent. Usher in laughter: Listen to music that your family can sing together. Usher in engagement: Play car ride games. Usher in connection: Use this time as a place to ask questions and heart check.   

I’d love for you to share your list with me and learn how you plan to hygge this winter?And when the season shifts, we can share how we hygge in the warmer months. too!

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