If you are missing a hug get hygge - Manchester Mind Matters


I am a huge advocate of self-care which I know is a buzz word that seems to be everywhere – even I do an eye-roll when I see yet another self-care activity.  It’s EXHAUSTING keeping up with it all.  And it’s especially so at New Year.  So far I have subscribed to 30 days of yoga and 30 days of creative activities. I had to stop myself from signing up for an online exercise class and online qigong class.  These are all fabulous, but a girl can have too much of a good thing!

With this in mind I wondered how I could look at this differently.  One that would elicit a more calming and gentle response.  For me, I gave some thought to what self-care means to me. And more importantly what’s achievable during a state of national lockdown.  I mean of course I would LOVE to go to a spa retreat in Southern Italy but it ain’t gonna happen!  So I dialled it back a notch and thought, given the circumstances we find ourselves in, given the constraints, given the weather (fog and frost), what does my self-care look like?  Readers…..it looks like this…..

A state of being

I want warm, I want cosy, I want to read and drink endless cups of tea and light candles when the light fades.  I want to be more HYGGE.  For the uninitiated, hygge is a word which originates from the Nordic countries.  In its purest form it describes a physiological and emotional state which is akin to that feeling of being hugged!  Remember that?  That lovely feeling we get when we are hugged by someone we love.  It describes a present moment experience which leaves you feeling warm, cosy and happy.  It’s really a state of being.  In Nordic countries hygge behaviour would include having a comfy corner to sit and read books;  sitting in front of a warm fire surrounded by candles chatting with a loved one; meeting a friend for coffee and cake and just talking about life.  It’s essentially about doing things that make you feel relaxed.  Easy and effortless things that don’t demand from us, but just wave gently and say “hi I’m here, fancy sitting down and having a day dream in this nice soft chair”.  It’s about rest not rush, being slow not slavish.

Nordic know-how

I was lucky enough to work for a European Committee several years ago.  Once when I hadn’t responded quickly to someone from Norway he replied “Don’t worry Gill, we are very patient people here in the snow”.  I loved that.  It reminded me to stop racing about getting nothing done.   Similarly, a colleague who lived in Sweden used to say that when the days shortened in November it was a time for extended coffee breaks with colleagues.  A time for conserving rather than expending energy.  It felt very restful.

Hibernate with Hyyge

I don’t want to feel obligated to do anything other than what makes my soul shine!  And if that’s daydreaming so be it!  I want to go slow into the New Year.  Perhaps you can do the same.  These next few months are likely to be challenging and limiting.  We can rail against the idea that we can’t go out, travel to favourite beauty spots and have a meal out with friends.  We can get annoyed at the endless staying in which reeks of Ground Hog Day.  Or we can surrender to it.  Give in, hibernate and be more hygge.  If this is something you feel would suit you right now, then here’s a few ideas to get you started.  How you create it is up to you.  It’s a very personal way of being.

Hygge in a nutshell

Hygge (pronounced “who-guh”)

  • Is simple not complicated
  • Encourages you to be in the present moment
  • Fosters connection, with yourself and others
  • Is relaxing
  • Does not pay attention to the constraints of time
  • Is better if you switch off your mobile so you connect to where you are and who you are with.
  • Helps you to feel happier

(Adapted from Scandikitchen:  The Essence of Hygge by Bronte Aurell)

A good all round website to understand more about hyyge is


And relax…..