The holidays can be stressful – especially this year. Although there may be less hustle and bustle with smaller gatherings such as our immediate household, our new normal comes with new stresses like online shopping and feeling disconnected. Which is why it’s important to take special care of your mental health this season.

Despite the circumstances, there are plenty of ways to make the holidays (and winter in general) meaningful! One way is to practice hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) – a Danish and Norwegian term that loosely translates to a feeling of being cozy, which is achieved by creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. Research shows that Denmark has some of the happiest people on earth and they attribute this to the practice of hygge. This increased happiness can have emotional, physical and relationship benefits, which is good for your overall wellness.

Here are some ways you can incorporate hygge into your life to make this season great:

Get cozy

Make time to destress every day. Hygge is all about creating a cozy atmosphere (think fireplaces and hot chocolate) to feel calm in. If you don’t have a fireplace, light some candles to warm up your space! Pour yourself a hot beverage (here are some ideas), snuggle up with your favourite blanket and fuzzy socks, get lost in a great book or just play some music and enjoy the moment. 

Turn off your phone

Spending more time at home makes it tempting to scroll through social media endlessly. Many of us are constantly plugged into news, social feeds and online shopping – especially during the holidays. Put your phone away an hour before bed and practice mindfulness by being in the moment. You might even find that you’ll sleep better in the evening!

Connect with family

Be present and connect with your loved ones this season by playing board games, going for walks or taking time to check in with one another. Travel restrictions and limitations on gatherings can make it harder to spend quality time with some family and friends, but there are still ways to connect in a meaningful way. Cook together and enjoy a meal over Zoom, mail a handwritten letter, send a thoughtful gift or watch the same movie over video call and message your reactions in real time. 

Enjoy the outdoors

The best part about colder weather? You can bundle up (check out our Winter Kit Essentials)! Don’t hibernate when the weather cools down – dig out the long johns your mom bought you last year, pull on some cozy socks, zip up your warmest parka and make use of your cozy toque and mitts – just get outside. Go for a long walk and appreciate the beauty of the season – then warm up with a relaxing bath or a crackling fire when you get home!