Even though the days are slowly getting longer every day after the holidays, it still seems like a long time until spring! So I wanted to share some ways to get through the short days and long nights and find the comfort in this time of year!

It may be cold and dark outside but its bright and warm inside. My friend Ashley recently shared the word hygge with me several weeks ago which is a Danish word meaning cozy, happy and safe. After learning the term, I soon realized that my friend Inger who grew up in Denmark has been practicing the art of cozy right in front of me for over 20 years when she  made me warm things to drink and eat during the wintertime. And I would watch her wrap herself in fuzzy sweaters, jackets. blankets and warm house shoes during the winter and the bulkier the items the better and I have seen no one else look so content in the comfort. I realize now that not only was she sharing warm drinks, good food and lots of love, she was also teaching me how to bring hygge into my own life!

The practice of hygge includes long conversations with family and friends and sipping warm cider. It is quality time for loved ones or just a special time for you! When we don’t have to let lots of distractions get in the way!

It can include lighting lots of candles and in Denmark they actually have a word for the person who blows out the candles, it is called. lyseslukker which means spoiled sport!

I hope that you will slow down and find the beauty around you and become cozy for the next several months.

Time to Get Cozy!

A book, some warm slippers and a comfy afghan are some of my ways to get hygge!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Indoor Activities

1. Play Some Games.

Whether you are by yourself or have a team, playing a game can be a lot of fun! Whether it is dominos or Operation with the kids or Cranium with a group of friends it is a great way to spend some time!

2. Smell the Aromatherapy.

I am new to the science of scents and how they make you feel but I am learning. I recently got a diffuser and have been learning about essential oils. Check out some cozy combinations here.

3. Find Some Laughs.

Whether it is a funny book, social media post, movie, audio, a live performance, funny friends or even laughing at ourselves, humor boosts our immune system and helps heal our body. It is important to reminder to be kind in what makes us chuckle.

4. Plan a Spa Day.

Prepare your own ingredients for a facial, bath tub or foot soak and take time self-nurture yourself. Here are a few recipes for some simple face facial masks,  bath salts 

and foot scrubs and soaks.

5. Indoor Exercise

When it’s cold and dark outside and the weather is yucky, try a exercise video tape like yoga or Zumba. Or maybe you can even get to an indoor class.

6. Fix a Hot Drink.

Whether it be hot herbal tea, coffee, hot cider, hot chocolate or the traditional winter Scandinavian Glogg. It is traditionally made with mulled wine but here is also a non-alcohol version made with cider. Put it in a special mug with a coaster and fun paper straw.Plan a Movie Night. Watch something special and make some popcorn.

7. Plan a Movie Night. Make it an event with some popcorn! Here some recipes.recipes.

8. Get Creative. Whether it be a craft night with friends or your own private craft night. My favorite things to work on are knitting, felt crafts, jewelry making and painting. You can also do some creative writing. The sky is the limit what you can creative!

9. Fix something warm and cozy to eat. Try a homemade soup, Spicy Mexican, Thai or Indian. Your taste buds will thank you!

10. Plant some seeds. I love looking through seeds catalogs and picking out some special things to grow. Depending on what you want to grow will depend on when you plant the seeds. Poppies for instance do well if sprinkled on the ground during the cold of the winter. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should be started around Valentine’s Day!

11. Get Some New Bedding. It is no wonder that stores have their white sales this time of year, we need a fresh look. If new linens are not in the budget, find a beautiful worn quilt at the thrift store or even make some new pillowcases with fabric that you already have. Here is a tutorial how to do make them: pillow case tutorial.

12. Light some candles. Or light a fire in the fireplace if you have one. This definitely sets the cozy mood but be saf

13. Spend the day or evening in bed. Light some candles, fix some hot beverages and read a good book. Feel free to take a nap!

14. Give Back to the Community. Volunteering where you live even just a few hours a month can give us a warm feeling. Pick a cause that you believe in!

15. Keep a Gratitude Journal. What things are you thankful for? Do you sometimes have a negative attitude about things? Count your blessings with a gratitude journal! I like the idea of the gratitude meter. If you are running on empty, how can you sit down and count your blessings!

16. Contact a Friend. Whether it be a call, written or e-mail if you can’t meet in person.

17. Read a good book. When it’s cold outside, escape with a great story!

Where I live, we are fortunate that there are quite a few decent days even in the winter so if thist is the case where you live, I encourage you to get outside as much as possible Here are a few ways!

Hiking in the Snow

Winter Outdoor Fun

1. Take an Outdoor Hike, Walk or Bike Ride. When the leaves are gone, you can often see more scenery!

2. Plan a Winter Camping Trip. Just make sure that you the pack winter gear!

3. Take a Winter Drive. Try a National, State or local park. Sometimes without the leaves you can get better views.

4. Build a Snowman. How many winters have passed since my son moved away, have I missed not building a snowman? Not this year, I am going to even plan him or hers outfit!

5. Play in the snow. Whether it’s a fun walk or a snow ball fight or even building some snow angels. Don’t spend all your time shoveling snow. Get out and have some fun!

6. Build a fire in a fire pit and roast some marshmallows.

7. Make some Snow Ice Cream. If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can make it with shaved ice. I love the recipe that Stephanie Town Benoit shared this fall in the 417 Magazine. I have been looking for the perfect snow ice cream recipe and this is it! Stephanie’s article last fall on doing fun this this winter has been an inspiration for this blog post also!http://wlos.com/news/news-13-this-morning/new-years-nutrition

Snow Ice Cream:

8-12 cups of snow

1 can sweetened condensed milk (or flavored plant milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Carefully mix vanilla with condensed milk. Add half of the snow in a large bowl and then add condensed milk. Then add the rest of the snow, carefully fold the condensed milk into the snow. You can add toasted coconut, pecans, grated chocolate and your choice of chopped fruit.

While all of us can benefit from these little hygge tips to self nurture us, there are some of us that need additional help to get through Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). This is a depression that people get during the gray winter season. Here is an article from webmd about treatment for this condition. Please don’t hesitate to get help if you need help.

I hope that some of these tips will help chase away the winter blues! Remember exercise, fresh air, sunshine and good nutrition are some of the other components of good health too! As an Asheville registered dietitian nutritionist, I work with clients helping them plan healthy meals and make permanent behavior changes! You can check out some of the tasty meals that I made on WLOS television with reporter Laura Brigman here! I also will be posting lots of new things too!

Warm Drink

If you wear some warm slippers and like a hot drink, you might be celebrating hygge!

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