Hygge, Embracing the Lifestyle with Chronic Pain

One year into this Pandemic and words like stress-free, self-care, mindfulness and Hygge have become all the buzz for practice within the confinements of our home and our now stay-at-home lifestyles.

With wave one, then two, and talk of wave three in the mix; forced lockdowns, isolations and stay at home orders have forced us to look at our lives a little closer and make our homes more compatible to live in full time.

For those suffering from chronic pain and migraines, the home NEEDS to be a place of comfort and well being. So what if we also added a warm atmosphere and some enjoyment for the good things in life? 

You my friend, have just created the essence of Hygge.

Hy..Hye what now?

Hygge, the Dannish word pronounced Hoo-Ga is not one with a direct translation. It is a lifestyle.

Have you ever wondered why Denmark continues topping the charts as one of worlds happiest countries? Hygge!

As Meik Wiking the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen explains Hygge is a “Defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA” 

  •  Getting cozy under a heated blanket drinking hot cocoa in your favorite chair while watching the snowfall outside with some relaxing music in the backdrop
  •  Lighting candles and deep sitting on your couch after spending a day under the fluorescent lighting of an office or hospital

If you’ve done either of these, then you’re part way there! These are examples of Hygge.

Further proof, look at your pet snoring on their bed (or yours)! They’ve got Hygge down pat! 

So in a world filled with physical pain, how can we integrate this and create a lifestyle that resembles Hygge? How can we discover ourselves and explore what we enjoy?

Bless North America for marketing tools to a lifestyle!

If we had to break down Hygge into categories, you will find that you can purchase items to aid in achieving this lifestyle and help your pain levels while doing so. Simple changes to your home, schedule and mindset will also help in creating this new, more enjoyable lifestyle.

NATURE: If you cannot physically get outside to enjoy nature, then try to bring it inside to you! Plants, flowers, colour pallets. Add a pop of colour to your room, or paint to your wall.

BLANKETS: Electric heated blankets are the best thing since sliced bread! There are so many options on the market now! Sunbeam and Biddeford have great ones that are full sized for the bed. Throw blankets in different rooms of the home are also great! Faux Mink or Faux Sherpa are so soft and comfortable! Weighted blankets are a game changer in the bedroom! They promote less stress and anxiety. Last but not least, Snuggies for all around comfort that allows you to still type or read on your down and out days, without your arms getting goosebumps! 

CANDLES: Having candles in place of bright LED lighting, or fluorescent lights can actually help migraine sufferers significantly. They also set the mood! Have a candlelit dinner with your family and notice the calm and quiet that comes from just shutting off the lights. Who doesn’t deserve that moment of calm in their day? Reading in your favorite nook with a room full of lit candles, having a candlelit bath. Candlelight brings about feelings of warmth, calm, and peacefulness. 

SCENTS: If you are lucky enough not to react to scents, perfumes, or essential oils, then scent is a wonderful way to relax. I use a reed diffuser and essential oils. By using only about 1″ of carrier oil, I can change the scent frequently without wasting oil. What could be more uplifting than the scent of apple pie? Or more cheerful than the scent of flowers?

NOOK/COZY SPACE: This can be a comfy reading chair, your bed, a pillow filled window seat, some cushions by the fire… Somewhere where you can just BE. To relax, read and be with your thoughts, turning off the electronics and enjoying the moment and space. Even if it’s your couch where you wrap yourself in a soft blanket, surrendering and embracing your flare up while binging Netflix. The space is yours!

CLOTHING: All about comfort here! Casual, comfy, warm. Soft PJ’s, oversized sweaters, scarves, layers, hoodies, fuzzy slippers. Did you know you can now purchase heated hoodies? Venture Heat Transit 2.0 and Climix have some nice models for that extra warmth

SIMPLIFY (Routine): Our routines were crazy Pre-Covid world. Now, trying to balance a full time live-in family, business, school etc.. finding time to simplify is detrimental to our mental health amongst everything else. This can be done by carving time out of your day to read, have a hot bath, time to spend with your partner, quiet time to spend with your child. Or use the time to pursue other interests, like learning a new skill. How about knitting? It will keep you warm as well!

SIMPLIFY (Gadgets): The world of gadgets is vast, and sometimes daunting. There are plenty of tools that can help chronic pain and achieve a small slice of Hygge at the same time as lessening discomforts and allowing us to enjoy our space.

  • Heated shoulder pads like the Mighty Bliss, Sable XXX, or Sunbeam can relax and help ease some discomforts. 
  • Canes that pick up fallen objects or items too high to reach just plain make life easier so we can sooner enjoy a simplified atmosphere! The Gain Cane, Handy Cane, and Grab Cane are some examples.
  • Rollator Cup Holders to enjoy those hot beverages! Amazon, Home Depot and Medline have no shortage of options to choose from

TOGETHERNESS: Isolation is rampant right now. It’s wreaking havoc on mental health across the board. If you have people living with you, spend some of this time that is presented to you! Board games, cards, a walk… If not, try a zoom or a phone call with your bestie, or someone you love. Sharing moments with loved ones is a huge factor in this lifestyle! It warms the heart emotionally. No gadget can replicate this.

FOOD/ HOT DRINK/ BOOKS: These can all be incorporated with your lifestyle. Laid back comforts that are helpful to your mind and body produce that feeling of warmth and coziness. Why have a regular coffee when you can have a cappuccino or latte? Perhaps add some whip cream to your hot chocolate or add some honey to your tea? Get lost in a book for a few hours, have that piece of cake! Simple added pleasures for your enjoyment.

LET THERE BE CAKE!

There are so many ways to adapt one’s lifestyle to replicate that of the Danes. We all deserve that kind of happiness, especially in a world with so many unknowns.

For those with chronic pain, this is a lifestyle that will indeed help cope.

Whether we are incorporating tools that help us in our day to day, taking time off the electronics to connect and be in the moment with either ourselves or loved ones, creating a living space that is one of comfort, coziness and happiness and learning to love, enjoy (and know that it’s okay to indulge every now and then) in that which makes you happy.

The world indeed, needs more Hygge!

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