Mental and emotional health is so incredible important, and it’s something I think people overlook. I recently was introduced to a Danish practice called Hygge. The Oxford Dictionary defines this as follows,
A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.)
This is a great practice of self-care. Taking time for yourself, relaxing, and being thankful in everyday pleasures. This blog post is the first I read on this, and it explains it in great form. The overview I get from Hygge is summed up in these few ideas:
- Atmosphere- having a cozy place to retreat to
- Having a heart of Gratitude
- Comfort- think big pillows and soft blankets
- Coziness-hot tea or coffee
- Connecting- whether it be with yourself, God, or others
I know what several of you are thinking right now, “Yeah right! That sounds great and all, but I don’t have time for all of that!”
Which is my point exactly, you have to take time for self care or you’ll fall apart or fall into someone you don’t want to be. I’ve been guilty of this as well. I want to make a conscious effort of “slowing down to smell the roses.”
Here are some my thoughts:
- The Art of Saying No
This is a hard one. If you’re like me, you don’t like to disappoint anyone. But I’ve learned the hard way, just because you can doesn’t always mean that you should. Sometimes things get so piled up you kind of lose yourself in trying to please everyone else, and getting done what everyone else needs for you to do. Now, I’m not saying don’t do anything. I’m just saying know your limits. Just because someone doesn’t think your plate looks as “full” as Jane’s next door doesn’t mean that it’s not full for you! It’s okay to turn stuff down, or say no when you know you can’t spend quality time on the project or if you know it’s too much to take on in this season of your life. It’s okay. My motto is, “you can only do what you can do!” So don’t feel the pressure of always having to be a yes-man.
- Drink in quiet moments
One of One Cute Cowboys favorite things to do when it’s nice out is simply get a comfy chair, sit under a shade tree, and enjoy a peach (or a beer) and just drink in a few quiet moments outside. It’s important to have silent moments to gather thoughts, say a simple prayer, or just simply be. We live in a world full of racket, and in the words of Ferris Bueller,
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
- Do Something for YOU
Whether it be taking time to take a bubble bath, watch an episode of your favorite show, read a chapter in your current book, whatever it is, take the time to do you. Even if it’s just for a moment. I think it’s important for you to take in life’s little pleasures every now and again. Sometimes I think we feel almost guilty for endulging in something we enjoy, but I’m here to tell ya, it’s okay!
- Watch a Sunrise or Sunset
Nothing makes me feel more alive and thankful than watching a sunrise or sunset. Something about watching that big ‘ol Sun do it’s thing is absolutely magical to me. God has an amazing color palette! I’m always in awe of His magnificents. While we’re on the subject, there’s something very majestic about the moon as well. I feel incredibly at peace when I can look up into the stary, night sky and see a big beautiful moon. I just think it’s important to be appreciative of the beauty around you, it’s there if you just look.
- Journaling/Praying/Listening to Music
My whole life I’ve found journaling is one of my favorite outlets, I guess that’s why I like this whole blogging thing. 😉 I’ve kept journals my entire life and it helps me emotionally and spiritually. To me journaling and praying go hand-in-hand. Seems like if I start out journaling, I start a conversation with God. It helps me to get all of my thoughts, worries, hopes, and dreams out on paper. One of my favorite things to do is listen to my record player while I journal or even blog. I’ve got some really great vinyls that are perfect for mellowing out. Music can be powerful and incredibly therapeutic.
- Spend Time With an Animal
You guys, animals are so incredibly intuative. I can’t tell you how often coming home to my dogs (cats, horses, and calves) is a completely calming experience after a rough/long day. I can remember when I lived in Tennessee I’d come home and just lay in the floor with my pup, Huck. Especially those times I was homesick or just felt down on my luck. They have such a calming, knowing presence about them. I’ve always been a dog-lover and I firmly believe dogs are man’s best friend…you can’t convince me otherwise. I think it’s good for the mind, heart, and soul to have a furry companion in your life.
- 5 minutes
Take 5 minutes in the morning (or evening.) Grab a hot tea or a cup of coffee and just meditate on your day, pray, write…do whatever you want in those 5 minutes, but give yourself 5 minutes to just be.
Something Hygge stresses is having a space to do these type of things. A comfortable, safe atmosphere, a place of relaxation. I dream of a little reading nook with fluffy blankets, twinkle lights, and comfy pillows. But I definitely don’t have to have all of that to simply spend a little time on me.
I hope this has helped some of you that are finding it hard to juggle everything life throws at you. I’m obviously no expert, these are all just my own thoughts and opinions, there’s a world of things out there to see and explore. Don’t limit yourself. I’d love to hear what some of your self-care tips are!