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Hygee and Mindfulness: How both practices can help reduce anxiety in both you and your kids

February 6, 2023
Beautiful snowy winter scene with snow and pine trees.

With the novelty of the New Year slowly wearing off and most people  settling back into their daily routines, this season can be among the hardest of the year. The winter can be a tough time for everyone, including both you and your kids. Long and cold nights, the middle of the school year, and the sun seemingly hiding for days on end, there’s never been a better time to find that little extra bump of serotonin.

Recently, the Danish philosophy of Hygee (pronounced hoo-ga) has been trending around the world as a way to not just get through the winter, but truly enjoy it. Award winning author and CEO of The Happiness Research institute Meik Wiking describes Hygee as, “everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy,’ ‘coziness of the soul,’ and ‘the absence of annoyance,’ to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,’ ‘cozy togetherness,’ and my personal favorite, ‘cocoa by candlelight’.”

The picture Wiking paints is one of tranquil nights spent by the fire, sipping on a hot drink, and maybe polishing off the night with a relaxing bubble bath. Despite sounding like a too good to be true practice that only the upper class can use, the practice of Hygee is actually quite obtainable and can help both you and your child beat the wintertime blues.

How to Craft a Hygee Routine that Works

Parents of children with anxiety know that routines can help ground children, as they know what to expect on a daily basis. Creating a routine centered around the practice of Hygee can help reduce anxiety and depression in children, provide a sense of comfort, and increase the practice of mindfulness. More than likely, this practice will create a presence of warmth that radiates through your entire home, because after all, you deserve to feel every bit as comforted and peaceful as your child too.

So how do you implement this into your family’s daily routine? Hygee is by nature a truly simple practice that doesn’t require much additional work or fancy items. It’s about taking what already works for you and your family and making it a little bit cozier, with a few small changes.

You can easily start by tweaking the routine you and your child already have and feel accustomed to. For example, if your child likes to have an after school snack, try introducing a warm drink to go along with it. Hot cocoa, warmed juice, or sipping on a tea can evoke a sense of relaxation after a long day at school (or work day). Or if your child has a certain place they like to do their homework, add some extra pillows or a throw blanket. If your family regularly sits down for a meal together, light a candle and dim the lighting. If you struggle to wake up in the mornings, play some cozy jazz music to elevate your morning routine. The options are endless and can be tailored to fit the unique needs of you and your family.

The Importance of Mindfulness

As much as Hygee is about doing physical things to evoke a sense of calm and comfort (lighting a candle, making a hot drink etc.) it’s equally about shifting your mindset to being more mindful in your daily life. Reinforce with your kids that it’s okay to slow down and take a break; rest and self care are just as important as nailing that upcoming math test. The CDC even recommends implementing self care into your daily routine as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.

In a way, Hygee is similar to the practice of mindfulness, as they both help to reduce anxiety and redirect your attention to the present moment, and can easily be practiced in tandem. Mindfulness is essentially the practice of shifting your attention back to the present moment without judgment. While implementing the physical practices of Hygee, help your child stay in the moment by way of using their senses. Guide them to notice the smell of the candle you’ve just lit, to feel of a soft blanket, or really listen to the sound of the wind blowing outside. Using these two practices in tandem is great for adults and perfect for littles ones because children naturally learn and orient themselves by using their senses.

No matter where your Hygee journey takes you, remember that oftentimes it’s the little things that truly make a difference in our lives. Hygee and Mindfulness are practices that have withstood the test of time and will always be there for you and your child to return to, no matter the temperature outside.

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