Holidays are usually thought of as a joyful time of year. When living with aphasia, this may not always be the case. Holidays can present unique challenges for people living with communication disorders, as well as their caregivers.
The Danish concept of hygge is all about enjoying the present moment. In the winter, the days shorten but the months can feel very long (especially if you live in a place that gets very cold). Hygge is one way of warding off the seasonal slumps so many of us experience during winter.
Embracing hygge requires no material objects. It is a state of mind more than anything. It can be a welcome opportunity to relax, settle into the winter months, and enjoy time spent with loved ones. Here are some ways to incorporate hygge into your life and help keep the winter blues at bay.
1. Play cards or a board game.
A deck of cards can provide hours of entertainment and many different games, from Go Fish to Poker. Games can range from more accessible to more challenging. Card games can be inclusive for a range of generations and individuals. You may even want to consider high-tech options like video games.
2. Light a candle.
Candles can be a simple way to bring warmth and comfort to a room. If open flames are a source of worry, invest in some battery-operated candles. Most even have flickering flames. It’s easy to forget they aren’t real, and there’s no worry about potential fires!
3. Invite a loved one over to bake cookies or prepare a meal.
Cooking and baking is a great way to spend quality time with a loved one. Make a batch of cookies, bake a loaf of sweet bread, or let a pot of stew simmer on the stove. Or order in! Whatever your style is, enjoy good food and time spent with the people around you.
4. Take a walk.
Part of hygge is allowing your body to manage stress hormones. Physical activity plays a big role in this. Bundle up in your favorite winter scarf and take a walk around your town or neighborhood. Stretching is another great way to work daily exercise into your routine. You can do it at home, and can even do simple stretches while seated in a chair!
Life can be overwhelming. It’s important to set aside time to relax and regroup. Take five minutes to unwind at the end of the day, or whenever needed. Life’s stresses won’t go away, but they will wait a few minutes while you recharge.
Focusing on the present moment and enjoying simple pleasures can help ease some of the stressors of the holiday season. Things like enjoying a mug of warm tea or lighting a nice-smelling candle are simple and accessible ways to bring warmth to the winter months.