“You cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. You cannot hygge if you are in a hurry or stressed out, and the art of creating intimacy cannot be bought by anything but time, interest and engagement in the people around you.”
~ Meik Wiking
Every summer I long for quiet moments where I can be alone with my thoughts and a good book (and usually a cat or two). If you’re planning on recharging your batteries, at the beach or on your patio, a great book can help you reinforce your commitment to living more fully. On my website, I have a Resource Page that lists many of the books that have meaningfully impacted my life in one way or another. Any one of them would be great to add to your summer reading list.
Ten of my all-time favorite books are:
- Embodied Leadership: The Somatic Approach to Developing Your Leadership
- Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life
- The Miracle of Mindfulness
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
- Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
- Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
- It Starts With Food
If you want a short read that makes you feel really good, I suggest you start with “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. and “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga) is the Danish concept that encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. That’s a concept we all can benefit from embracing!
Isn’t it sad that in today’s fast paced, entrepreneurial world, people do feel guilty about slowing down and “smelling the roses”?! We’re told to always HUSTLE if you want to succeed. I believe there’s a time and place for hustling, but there’s also an equally important time for embracing hygge.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things”, Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
When was the last time you felt comfy, cozy and safe? Was it just this morning, last night, a week ago, or so long ago you can’t remember? What I love about the Danish concept is that it’s their way of life. They build their lives around good relationships that create these warm, intimate feelings. They don’t just try to squeeze them in at the end of the day or on the weekend.
How can you introduce hygge to your home and life?
Soften your lighting. According the Wiking, candles are a must. Think about how much more intimate and enjoyable your dinners will be when you turn off the overhead lighting and use candles. Your family will sit down and take notice that this is a special occasion. What a nice way to spark conversations. And, at the end of the day, make time to soak in the tub by candlelight. Pure heaven!
Create a cozy reading space. Reading is so good for you. Studies show that it reduces stress, promotes comprehension and imagination, alleviates depression, helps you sleep and may contribute to preventing Alzheimer’s. So, making a place that draws you into a daily practice is reading is a win-win!
Spend relaxed time with loved ones. Picnics in the park, backyard barbeques, bonfires on the beach, and outdoor movie nights are all fun summertime activities that promote a feeling of hygge. And instead of hibernating during the winter, invite friends over to play board games and music in front of the fireplace.
To me, hygge means appreciating simple things with the people you love. I’ve found that a practice of mindfulness really fosters this intimacy within yourself, between friends and with your surroundings.
While I take some time off to enjoy my summer, I hope you, also, are making time to enjoy your summer and your life! And if you’d like to, please come over to my Facebook page and share what books are on your summer reading list. I’d love to hear about your recommendations!