It's the middle of winter, and Donald Trump is president of the United States. If you're like me, that makes you want to put a pillow over your head and wait for brighter days. Since that's not really an option, practicing hygge can help you cope with Trump's presidency, and get you through the dark days of winter. Pronounced "hue-gah," it might sound unusual — but it's probably exactly what you need right now.
According to the website Hygge House, hygge is a Danish word for coziness that describes a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful, or special. And, let's face it, we could all use a little coziness these days.
I lived in Maine for nine years. During the height of winter, the sun set at 3:30 p.m., which meant that I also spent those nine years suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Now that I live in California, the sun shines all of the time (sometimes too much), but with the reality of a Trump presidency I feel like I'm living though a proverbial nuclear winter. And I'm not the only one: According to The Week, more than 20 books on hygge were released in 2016 alone, proving that millions of people are looking for ways to make themselves more comfortable.
Since Denmark was just voted the happiest country in the world for the third year running (despite having up to 17 hours of darkness a day during the winter), I think they might be onto something. Want to find out what all the fuss is about? Here are nine ways to practice hygge to get through the dark days of Trump.
1Dedicate a Day to Coziness With Friends
Now more than ever, it's important to set aside time for self care. A good friend of mine recently announced she is starting a Friday evening knitting and wine circle called "wine and skein." I have no idea how to knit, but I'm going to show up, take a break from the onslaught of negatives Trump news, and learn to knit myself something cozy. Consider getting your own group of friends together to practice hygge. You deserve a little TLC.
2Wrap Yourself in a Blanket
I just bought an electric blanket for the first time since I was a kid, and let me tell you — it has changed my life. Yes, it was the chill of Los Angeles that drove me to buy an electric blanket, and now I am kicking myself for not getting one while I endured sub-zero temperatures in Maine. The best thing about it is that it's easy to take with you wherever you go. I snuggle up with mine on the couch, and then put it on my bed at night.
3Use Candles, Fireplaces and Mood Lighting
No one is better at embracing hygge than Stevie Nicks, even if she doesn't necessarily know it. Nicks, magical musician and epic storyteller, is known for keeping a roaring fire going year round, draping scarves and shawls over too-bright lights in hotel rooms, and writing by hand in a notebook by candlelight in the middle of the night. Creating a soft, glowing light can change your mood. Soft lights make us feel creative and cozy, and I know we could all use a little inspiration right now.
4Soothe Your Soul With Warm Drinks
Personally, I think few things are better than a warm drink on a cold day — or even when you're just feeling blue. According to a study published in the Journal of Science, holding a warm drink even makes people friendlier. Maybe Europeans are onto something with their afternoon tea after all. If you're feeling blah, grab your blanket, dim the lights and put on the kettle.
5Cook Up Some Comfort Food
When I'm sick or just feeling down, nothing sounds better than a nourishing meal like lasagna, soup, chili, or stew. A 2015 study reported that comfort food triggers relationship-related cognitions, and can fulfill your need to belong. If you're feeling overwhelmed and helpless by recent events, bring hygge into your kitchen, and prepare your favorite comfort food. You can even ask friends to bring over their favorite comfort foods and have a hygge potluck.
6Head to the Spa
Hygge isn't just for home. Gather your friends and head to a spa to treat yourselves to a massage, steam or sweat. Some cities even have urban sweat lodges where you can get wrapped up in a tin-foil type contraption, and sit in a recliner watching Netflix while you sweat your way to happiness. I've tried this, and I have to admit that I felt amazing afterward.
7Pile On the Pillows
Diving into a bed of pillows feels amazing, especially during the winter. Don't forget to bring hygge into your bedroom. Between regular pillows, and throw pillows, I have more than 10 pillows on my bed. If you want to get cozy with your favorite book or TV show, rearrange your pills to create a cozy nest, then sink in and relax.
8Watch a Marathon of Your Favorite Show
Now that you have your warm drink, your comfort food, your mood lighting, your cozy blanket, and your pillow nest, you're ready to really forget about your cares for a bit. Next it's time to watch a marathon of your favorite show. For me that means Wentworth (kind of like a darker, Aussie version of Orange is the New Black), Gilmore Girls, or Shameless.
9Snuggle Up With A Good Book
Winter is long, and we could have Trump as president for four years (shudder), so practicing hygge might just become a regular part of your life. When you really need to unplug, get into your pillow nest, turn on your electric blanket, and grab your favorite book. I'm currently reading all of Carrie Fisher's novels and memoirs because I really need to laugh, and she can turn a phrase like no one else. She has seven books, so that's been keeping me busy the past few weeks (when I'm not marathoning Gilmore Girls).
Reading is a great way to escape into another world for an hour or two, so open your favorite book, or grab your Kindle, and decompress. By taking the time to really care for ourselves, we can show up stronger in our daily lives, and in the fight against Donald Trump.