Anxiety,  Humor,  Life

You Aren’t Pronouncing Hygge Correctly

Courtesy of Pinterest. Or Instagram. Or who the hell knows.

My therapist suggested that I embrace winter this year for the first time in many, many years.

Of course, she suggested this in October when there was green grass, above 50-degree temperatures, and air that didn’t give me a lung infection when I inhaled.

BUT OKAY!! I WILL EMBRACE WINTER!

via GIPHY

This was also before winter became one big shit basket full of things like snow every day for a solid two weeks, ice storms that knock the power out intermittently, temperatures that give you frostbite within three minutes of exposure to outside air, and static.

LOTS AND LOTS OF STATIC.

via GIPHY

But embracing winter was my assignment among many other things because it turns out I am a hot mess but mostly only a hot mess during what time of year?

Yep, you guessed it.

Winter.

It seems winter is my hot button.

My Achilles heel.

I begged her, what can I do to get through those four soul-sucking months of the year?

Happy lamp?

Oils?

Vitamin D?

Moving?

Assorted-color Bottle

According to my therapist, happy lamps don’t always help with seasonal depression unless you actually have a serious vitamin D deficiency, to begin with.

Which doesn’t really make sense because almost everyone in the northern part of Noth America has a deficiency in vitamin D.

Because of no sun exposure.

Because of frostbite.

I mean I didn’t want to spend $100 on a lamp that looks like a giant Light Brite anyway but I did need something ANYTHING to get me through beside a move to Florida (totally not ruling that one out no matter what my therapist says.)

She did suggest things like massage, breathing exercises, among many others but her biggest piece of advice was this: make the best of the bad situation by facing it.

Get in bed for the day at four in the afternoon and just snuggle with Ella while listening to music.

Coffee Cup Beside Biscuits

Eat dinner at 3:30 while it’s still light out.

Go outside as much as you possibly can, no matter how cold it is.

Or just stay in, watch a good movie, make popcorn, or even just SLEEP.

When you are hungry, eat. When you aren’t, stop.

That winter is about hibernating, that it is about slowing down, eating heavier foods, giving your body much needed rest.

Instead of fighting that rest, give in to it.

If you struggle with winter sadness, read this amazing article. I have used a lot of these in my life to help cope and they are realistic too.

Also, I have just recently discovered binaural beat meditation and it seems to be helping me. I can’t do traditional meditation because my anxiety won’t shut my brain off, so if that is you as well, I think you will like this. I use the app Beatfulness and paid the $9.99 for a lifetime so I can access all of the beats. They have meditations that last from 10 minutes up to 30 minutes but you can tailor it to your needs (you will need earbuds or headphones for the meditations to work). I know nothing about chakras or third eyes but feel like I will once I get into a routine with this.

Pug Sleeping Beside Woman on Bed

There is this “trend” called hygge going on all around the US of A currently.

I put quotation marks around the word “trend” because it has been going on forever in Denmark, where hygge is an actual word.

Hygge: (noun)- a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

By the way, if you are pronouncing hygge HI-GHEE, you are saying it wrong and I am here to stop you from embarrassing yourself if you happen to run into someone who is from Denmark.

It is pronounced HOO-GA.

Right? Crazy Danes.

Anyhoo, HOO-GA aka hygge is about creating coziness where you are to keep you from jumping off of an iceberg mid-February.

It says so in the dictionary.

Apparently, if you put enough twinkly lights up, you might start to feel better.

Snuggle in a blanket, put on cozy socks, drink coffee all damn day, and snuggle baby kittens while listening to spa music.

I am here to tell you something: if you suffer from any type of mental health issue (ie me), while this all sounds absolutely wonderful, does not at all work.

Oh sure, it helps to have all of the above but at the end of the day, it’s still winter and snuggling kitties while listening to Dieter play the pan flute isn’t as good as say, therapy or medication.

So if you are reading this and are really struggling, I FEEL YOU. IT IS OKAY. ASK FOR HELP.

If you are suffering from what I like to call marginal seasonal sadness (winter sucks, yeah but if I eat this pizza, I will be able to power through), then I have some things for you.

These light curtains are exactly what we all need in our life. In fact, I have had white Christmas lights dangling on the interior of three of my windows since 2017. Everyone thinks I am being whimsical when in fact, I am just saving my damn life.

Do this for yourself if darkness is not your friend. Head here to pick these curtains up for under $20, much cheaper than a plane ticket to the Bahamas.

I bought these light bulbs back in November because my blog nemesis, read about her here, suggested we needed them. So, they essentially mimic natural sunlight which is something we lack around here from November until March. In the bathroom, these lights are life-changing because you can see EVERYTHING. Which is good when you are putting on makeup but bad when you are over the age of 40 if you get my drift.

Head here to buy them in bulk from Amazon.

One more tip- listening to ocean waves on YouTube sometimes works better than music. It has done wonders for my psyche of late. Also, watching YouTube videos about sunny places helps too. Ella and I spent a morning learning about the equator, Southern Hemisphere, and South America but really I was getting in some sunshine therapy in disguise.

Dog Lying Beside Person on White Comforter While Holding Tea Mug

I must say that tackling winter seemed doable back in the safety of October when things weren’t so gray. So hopeless. So endless.

When I say I hate snow or hate winter, I get lots of people who don’t understand that statement and that’s okay if you are reading this and don’t either. But I don’t think you realize it has less to do with snow and more to do with what snow represents.

This winter has been really trying for me and my anxiety. It has to do with my husband being gone for long hours, my oldest daughter being far away and not having her presence in the home as well as all of her activity, and being home more because of homeschooling Ella. As much as I love the time I have in my home, at times it is just too much and Ella agrees as well.

In spring and summer, and even fall, I am outside almost daily, I am seeing neighbors regularly, I am going out with friends more, I am just more.

Snow represents being stuck, being in, being trapped.

So I can appreciate that others don’t feel that way. If you love snow and winter, I am glad for you. Just don’t make me want to love it, okay?

Landscape Photography of Snow Pathway Between Trees during Winter

For now, I am doing things to cope with winter-like snuggle in a weighted blanket while watching the horrendously sexist and stupid Rock of Love with Bret Michaels from 2007 that just appeared on Hulu.

Or listening to Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton on auto-repeat.

Getting together regularly with my family and friends OUTSIDE of my home.

One night, Ella and I braved a sleet storm to walk in the local mall because we are in the part of winter where you pretty much need to brave shit daily just to get out of the house.

We held hands, window shopped spring clothing, ate frozen yogurt and I can tell you we felt 150% better afterward.

So I guess I am finding ways to embrace winter a little bit.

Big, deep, breaths.

How are you getting through winter? What are your tips to make it less, winter?

This post contains a few Amazon Affiliate links to help support the expense of running this blog. Please head to the tab marked Disclosure to read about my working relationship with Amazon. 

I love to write about my family, John Hughes, tacos and Bruce Hornsby. Not necessarily in that order.

16 Comments

  • Jeanette Winter Hater

    Yes. Yes. Yes and yes to all of this. I need those lightbulbs by the millions. But more importantly, I am feeling everything you’re saying here, and absolutely needed to read it this morning while trying to ignore my dog doing everything in her power to get me out of bed. Urrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      First, I love you so much for your comment names.
      Second, I am so glad to not be alone but I hate that you understand because I know what you are going through.
      Third, stay in bed. It’s shitty outside today.

  • Mrs K @ Mrs

    I love winter. All parts of it and always have. We are actually looking at homes and jobs in New England to have longer winters. Do I love driving in snow/ice? No but it is nature’s gift of relaxation for those who seek it. There is nothing more relaxing than staring out the window, as I did yesterday, watching big, beautiful flakes come down. Then we went for a 3 mile walk in it and listened to the sound of it crunching in our snow sneakers as our cheeks became rosy red while the rest of us was toasty in our thermals. We don’t take these snow days for granted because we so rarely get them the way we did when we were kids.

    When we got back inside and were peeling off our layers, my husband actually thanked me for helping him appreciate snow again. I began really pushing that for him based off of a private conversation his dad and I had when he was dying. He knew his treatment options had run out and it was snowing in March in upstate NY and we were watching it fall. He said “it upsets me how much people complain about the snow. Most of my life, I did too. Now, as my days are coming to an end, I cherish every flake I see, every snowman being built by the neighbor kids, every snow covered branch hanging outside my window. When I’m gone, you cherish it too when I can’t. I regret not appreciating what was right in front of me all along.” From that point on, every snow I make sure we’re building a snowman, making snow angels, sledding, walking in it, playing in it, looking skyward and smiling and finally got my Mr on board just like his dad wanted.
    Mrs K @ Mrs recently posted…Strawberries and Cream FudgeMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      All of that is foreign to me. I can’t even fathom how people love snow. It is more about depression and anxiety for me. Like, when we have snowstorms, I have a literal panic attack even though I grew up in Ohio around snow and even skied for God sakes. So it has gotten worse as I have grown older and life things have happened. But I can appreciate your appreciation for snow; I just can’t understand it. 🙂

  • Rita

    Dammit, I was about 4 paragraphs into a comment and I hit some wrong key or something (and I was typing f-ing, not the actual F-word) when the screen flashed and the whole f-ing comment was gone.

    It’s so February around here, and I can’t deal.

    Our nemesis is rain. It was all supposed to come down as snow and we were supposed to have snow days and prettiness and everything f-ing hygge, but no. It is just the same old damn depressing gray RAIN.

    I feel you. Hard. (That’s what she said.)

    I love that window of lights, though. Might need to get me some of those.

    Sending you (soggy) love.
    Rita recently posted…Time time timeMy Profile

  • Ani

    I feel you girlie, like all the feels. I deny I have the winter blues, every winter. And then I’m sitting here like a sad pile of cold mashed potatoes every February, trying to figure out where I went wrong in my life. And you are right, if you don’t suffer from clinical mental health issues, you can’t understand how lights, and decor can’t bring you out of your funk. I did just put those day lights in my amazon cart though. Do you use the 60 watt?

    I’m glad you are doing all of your stuff, and that you are making yourself get out of the house. I just made a pact with myself as well that I have to leave the house at least once a day. Since I work from home, if I’m not traveling, I can literally not leave the house for days at a time. I mean not even step out the front door. Today I’m going to join the gym. I always tell myself that I can work out from home, and it’ll save money, and it’s cold out. But seriously I need to see other people, for like at least ten minutes a day. Holy Moly!

    You said there’s only 39 more days of winter right? RIGHT?!
    Ani recently posted…Travel on Weight Watchers – Tips from a Frequent FlierMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      I use the 60 watt. 🙂

      I think for me, this year is harder because Mike is always gone AND I am homeschooling. I need breaks and I am just not getting them. It is harder than I thought it would be but Ella loves homeschooling so it is where I am now.

      39 days more of “winter” but I think you and I both know that it is really 59 days more. Or 109. Or maybe it just feels like it.

      HELP.

  • Melanie

    Another winter hater here….

    I tolerate it (barely) up until mid-January. Then I am DONE. Feb and March are my worst-ever months. Nothing exciting going on (as far as holidays or anything – Valentine’s Day doesn’t count and neither does St Patrick’s Day) and our little world outside our windows is SO ugly and drab and dreary. Nothing but gray and brown and dirty piles of snow that seem like they’ll never melt. Though none of this makes my anxiety worse or anything. It just makes me feel blah and fat…and sometimes like I’m climbing the walls.

    Have I talked to you about CBD oil? I don’t remember. I’ve been taking it for hmm, about 6 weeks now, I think. It has helped my anxiety a LOT. I no longer feel like I’m freaking out about everything. It’s taken that horrible edge off like I’m going to jump out of my skin. I sleep deeper, too.

    I can do meditation now, but maybe only like 5-10 min at the most. It takes regular practice. Even if you just do it one minute a day, it’s fine. There’s not supposed to be any judgement or fear of failure. I take yoga classes too, and they incorporate some meditation into it – all that helps me, too. And then once in awhile I do guided meditations via apps. I like Insight Timer. Have you tried any of those?

    An yeah, I have those little twinkle lights around my house, too. OK, just the living room. But they do add a bit of cheer during these long, dark, sucky-ass days.

    Hope to see you soon, my friend. xoxo

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      OMG tell me more about CBD oil when I see you next week. I have wanted to try it but didn’t know what kind to buy, how much, etc… Do not forget to tell me all about it when I see you. 🙂

      So yoga I have tried and it seems to help a bit but I am not good at it. I need to find a really good yoga program. Do you do yoga in a class or at home alone? Do you have a yoga program you love?

  • Marcus@strengthery

    I also experience a “touch of winter sadness” every winter. For me eating simple and cheap vitamin D3 pills do make a difference.

    By the way, I am Dane living abroad and not sure what all this hygge craze is about. I mean hygge is great and all, but I don’t feel that it is something us Danish people are so conscious about.
    Marcus@strengthery recently posted…Best Handheld Massager For AthletesMy Profile

  • Andrea

    Seriously, what is going on with the status hair this winter!? Worse than evah (and compounded by my haircut needs). My mom got me snowshoes for Christmas (since she. bought herself some) and that has gotten us out a few times for fresh air just tromping around (which we could’ve done in boots…but wouldn’t have). Just trying to get out when conditions permit, but gosh I do love those curtains!

    I missed you!!!!!

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      I love your snowshoe posts on Facebook. That is something I think I would love; cross country skiing. snowshoes etc.. I walked in the snow in the woods with Ella last Monday and it was kind of nice. I think if I just push myself to get out of the house into nature even in winter, it might help me a lot.

      I MISSED YOU SO MUCH.

  • Ernie

    Oh, how I detest winter. Not sure I have the blues over it exactly. I haven’t washed my kitchen floor in (insert a length of time that you find appalling, because I don’t want to admit to how long it has been. This seems like a safe way to not be judged) because the boots don’t always stay in the mudroom and the minute I wash it the snowy, salty mix will just reappear. I leave the house, but holy shit I hate the serious cold. Like, HATE, HATE, HATE! I hate worrying about my kid driving in the snow and ice. My absolute worst activity is to grocery shop in freezing cold temps and slushy snow. Why must grocery shopping happen in bad weather? Sigh. I love summer and this year we are driving to Florida for spring break, so I am counting the weeks/hours to that which helps. I have definitely noticed an increase in my patience with all things winter the older I get. Like gray hair wasn’t enough to remind me that I am old?
    Ernie recently posted…traffic or groceries, tough decisions like this keep me energizedMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      I am at the point of winter where I actually USE the water from the boots to wash my floor because I GIVE THE EFF UP.
      I also took advantage of Instacart in my area from Aldi; SO much cheaper than Peapod (the delivery fee of $4 would cost me more in gas to get there and back) and it was just nice to sit at my computer and order stuff and have it scheduled. Same exact prices as in-store at Aldi too.
      But now I need to get out because WINTER, so shlepping to the grocery counts as self-care as well as exercise.
      WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME??

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