Combating SAD with Hygge

Combating SAD with Hygge

Tomorrow is the darkest day of the year in the most literal sense of the word. The sun won’t rise until almost 7:00 am and will set before 4:30 pm. This means we will only see about eight hours of daylight. These low levels of light are some of the main contributing factors to a condition many Americans are realizing they have: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), is characterized as a type of depression that is only experienced during a certain time of year. For many, the height of Seasonal Affective Disorder hits following Christmas, when the seasonal splendor has faded and all that’s left is the cold and dark days of winter. Seniors in particular may struggle with the colder months of the year, as it isolates them in their homes for longer stretches of time.

Combating SAD with Hygge

Combating SAD with hygge

The solution to feeling brought down by winter weather might be easier than one thinks. In recent years, the term “hygge” (pronounced “hooga”) has gained a great deal of traction in the winter months. This Danish practice is all about taking time to enjoy the small joys in life that you may otherwise overlook.

For many people, hygge is the perfect way to come out the other side of SAD. Instead of being resentful of the colder months of the year, hygge encourages you to embrace it. Take pleasure in the roaring fireplace, the warm drinks, and the cozy atmosphere. Here are a few ways you can combat SAD with hygge.

Indulge in what you enjoy

One of the key principles of hygge is taking the time to enjoy what makes you most happy without guilt. This means allowing yourself the space to read a new book, knit a new scarf, bake your favorite cookies, go on a winter hike, or whatever it is you enjoy.

Make these activities even more fun by enjoying them alongside your loved ones. Togetherness and enjoying the company of others is not only essential to hygge, but essential to your mental health. Being present for quality time with your loved ones helps create a feeling of emotional security. This leads to deeper feelings of calm.

Change your lighting

You might be tempted to turn on your bright, overhead lights to offset the darker skies, but this can actually create a more sterile-feeling environment. Instead, opt to turn on the softer, warmer lighting of floor and table lamps.

Candles, too, are a great way to imbue a cozy, relaxing environment. If you’re concerned about having too many open flames or forgetting to blow out your candles, purchase flickering LED candles instead. Many of them even come with a timer, so they’ll turn on exactly when you want them!

Be cozy and comfortable at home

Surround yourself with greenery

During the dead of winter when everything is brown and gray, surround yourself with greenery. Houseplants bring nature into our home, which you’ve been sorely lacking in recent months. In addition to improving your home’s air quality, caring for plants has been shown to be good for your mental health too. Those who care for plants see a reduction in feelings of anxiety and depression, boost creativity, and an increase in memory retention.

Create a cozy environment

Chances are, you already have a cozy corner or room in your home that you absolutely love being in. So, enhance that feeling by filling it with things you enjoy. Fill it with plush pillows and a cozy blanket. Create storage for your favorite hobbies, or fill it with an end table where you can rest your warm drink and books.

Make winter easier with the help of an at-home caregiver

Hygge isn’t the end-all, be-all cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It can, however, make symptoms more manageable.

As you work to combat SAD with hygge, your at-home caregiver can help you live comfortably and confidently at home. Whether you require assistance with meal preparation, medication reminders, or other non-medical activities of daily living, an at-home caregiver can make the winter easier.

If you don’t have a caregiver and you’re curious how one could benefit your quality of life, call us at 773-274-9262.

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