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Seren Kiremitcioglu • 9 October 2020 • 4 minutes

How ‘hygge’ is helping my wellbeing

For a few years now, I’ve been an indoors person.

Now, I love hiking, exploring, and finding new places, don’t get me wrong. It’s more a thing of give me a blanket, fairy lights and Netflix and I’ll choose that over a night out any day! I guess this year has been a bit “be careful what you wish for” in that department, but as the colder months draw in, who doesn’t love the feeling of warmth and comfort?

I recently read The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. While I’ve always identified with hygge, it resonated just how much joy I found from each concept in my everyday life. Despite the miserable weather, maybe Denmark is the place for me!

A photo of the book 'The Little Book of Hygge' by Meik Wiking
Photo Credit: Oliver Bonas

I’ve been on a pursuit to find joy in the little things in life for quite some time now. This book inspired me to collect them together on (virtual) paper to share some light as the days get darker.

Baking Pepparkakor

Charlie and I love making Pepparkakor. It all stems back from an IKEA trip we made over a year ago. I put a tin of their ginger snaps on our trolley – which was obviously overspilling with stuff – and our love for them has been everlasting. Making Pepparkakor is fairly easy to make, provided you don’t get spooked when the sugar seemingly doesn’t melt. (PS, it does, you just need to add the egg!)

They’re such a delicious treat and feel so much more deserved after getting messy in the kitchen. With a warm spice and a perfect snap that would make Paul Hollywood proud, it’s impossible to feel rubbish as you’re tucking into them. I love making them because it’s the perfect hygge activity. Put your pyjamas on, stick some candles on in the kitchen and get baking with a loved one. The combined smell of warm ginger, cloves and cinnamon is heavenly.

Glittery Pepparkakor
Glittery gold Pepparkakor

Cooking

Wiking defines spending time with loved ones in intimate settings as ‘hyggelig.’ Normally I’m shattered after a day working, even at home, but it’s helped to view cooking as a fun bonding activity Charlie and I can share beyond mooching on the sofa, hiding from coronavirus!

Right now, I’m loving ‘The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook’ I bought Charlie last Christmas. We recently made the Lemon and Spinach soup recipe, which knocked our socks off! It was easy, warming, and entirely new to our usual go-to dishes, which made gave the whole process an element of excitement.

A bowl of lemon and spinach soup

Reading

This is definitely the easiest on the list for me – curling up with a book and a purring cat nearby. My favourite genre is memoirs. From medical professionals to victims of crime, I have so much gratitude to those who choose to share their experiences. It takes huge courage to be vulnerable like this, especially if speaking about something deeply traumatic.

One book I really enjoyed recently was Lysa Walder’s ‘Rapid Response: True Stories of My Life as a Paramedic.’ I’ve met my fair share of paramedics, having a complicated medical file, but it was enlightening to see the flip side of such encounters through her eyes. I’ve always had enormous respect for the National Health Service – but reading this memoir was like driving along with Lysa in the ambulance. Her writing illustrated just how much paramedics go through on a daily basis, and it’s never easy.

A photo of my cat Teddy, who is asleep on a chunky knit blanket

More about hygge

I’m not here to suggest hygge as a mental health treatment, and I’d hate for anyone to take it that way. The main gist is that I’m really interested in the idea of hygge, and I’d love to find out what other people think about it.

If you know any great books about the topic, throw them my way!

In the meantime, read my last blog on how my mental health is doing right now.

Resources

Mind

Shout

NHS

Young Minds

Samaritans

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