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Jane Bates: Embrace 'hygge' this winter

Follow Danish tradition and snuggle down by the fireside to keep warm this winter, says Jane Bates. 

Follow Danish tradition and snuggle down by the fireside to keep warm this winter, says Jane Bates 

Earlier this month, NHS England and Public Health England joined forces to launch the Stay Well This Winter campaign. 

Featuring adverts with front-line NHS staff, including nurses, the campaign encourages people to wrap up warm and consume hot meals and drinks to keep energy levels up. 

Snuggling down by the fireside wrapped in a fleece, one hand holding an entertaining novel and the other wrapped around a cup of hot chocolate? Sounds nigh-on perfect to me. 

This is something the Danes have been doing for years. Known as hygge (sounds a bit like ‘hooga’), it roughly translates to coziness and is about the Scandinavian tradition of embracing the chill and cheerless weather. Candles figure heavily, and entertaining friends.

Critical voice

It sounds like the safest way to carry on over the winter months but, as with most things, hygge has its detractors. Beware, they say, of the perils of inertia, the long-term harm that can result from an excess of cinnamon buns, and how airborne particles from candles can damage the lungs.

But the naysayers are missing the point; hygge is not just about hibernation, vegging out or overdosing on candles, it also means long winter walks and enjoying the great outdoors. The main concept is an attitude of mind – contentment. An antidote to seasonal affective disorder, if you will. 

So embrace the cold and dreary weather and do something joyful. Don’t plod miserably through the gloom – have some fun, and don’t feel guilty about it.  

 

Jane Bates

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

 

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