10 Hygge Principles to Embrace during Quarantine

Hygge during Quarantine

I’ve been thinking a lot about Hygge during these weeks we’ve been stuck at home during the Coronavirus quarantine. As a short summary, Hygge (pronouced ‘hue-guh’) is the pursuit or acknowledgement of the things in our lives that bring contentment or cosiness. There are obviously things you can buy or do that would bring about more hygge in your life, but for the most part it is a perspective shift more than a specific look to your home or life.

Life at home in self-isolation or quarantine (anyone else confused about which is which?) has a lot of things in common with hygge, but it also brings with in many stresses. Today I’m wanting to look at the ways we can make these times in isolation easier, not add more to your plate!

If you’ve ever read Meik Wiking’s Little Book of Hygge you’ve already heard these principles in his Hygge Manifesto, but I’d like to expand on why they are so valuable during these uncertain times, and why these weeks or months at home during the quarantine can also be a gift if we can shift our perspective.

Hygge during Coronavirus quarantine

Atmosphere

Charlotte Mason said that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life, and I think that has two meanings for us here today.

First, we don’t need to stress about providing a classroom style education for our children, or checking off boxes, we just need to provide a safe, distraction-free atmosphere where kids are free to explore their interests. We can guide them by ‘strewing’ the books and activities we would like them to explore, and having a set time each day that we learn together, but we also need to give them large chunks of time dedicated to free and creative play.

Second, we need to understand that the atmosphere in our homes will have the most lasting effect on them, long after the Coronavirus quarantine is over. If we are constantly checking the news on our phone and having quiet, anxious conversations, the things they will remember about these times will be stress and worry. If we can manage to turn off the news, know that we are doing our part by staying at home and trust that God is in control, the atmosphere in our homes and the legacy of this time will be a positive change in our families and ourselves.

Turn down the lights, light some candles, and start focusing on finding your own hygge ways to enjoy this slower, restful time and your kids will follow your lead!

{I am in no way saying that our homes can or should be completely quiet and conflict-less; I don’t know if that’s even possible when you have kids around, and I don’t want you feeling guilty if your kids are watching more TV or fighting more now that they are all trapped at home while under quarantine. These things are just goals that we can all aspire to, not more boxes to check off or feel guilty about.}

Presence

Another benefit of putting down our phones is the ability to be more present. There are many things about the future that are uncertain right now, but we need to understand that focusing on those uncertainties changes absolutely nothing.

If you are a what-if sort of person, spend some time praying or journaling all of the what-ifs you are worried about and processing the many possibilities, and then let it go, and focus on the present and what you can do and change right now. Play with your kids, cuddle with your spouse, develop those hobbies you have put off (baking, anyone?), and be the person you thought you could be if only you had more time.

Time is the gift we are all receiving right now, for ourselves and for those we love.

Pleasure

What makes you happy? What makes your spouse or kids happy? Do those things! Get up early to watch sunrises, spend hours playing LEGO, make messes while baking brownies or cookies together. Make sure that each day you are doing a few things that make you and others happy.

Note: Everyone is talking about gaining the “covid-19” with all of the baking (and stress eating) they are doing, so make sure you are also enjoying walks or bike rides together too! If you’re looking for some fun ways to spend more time in your own backyard, check out this post of 6 Toys that Encourage Creative Outdoor Play!

Equality

I hope this is already the way things work in your home, but while you are both working from home, or off of work, consider how you can share the responsibilities more equally. ‘We’ over ‘me’. Often it falls to the wife to balance working from home and looking after the kids, so find ways that you can both look after the kids and make the meals that need making. Clean up as a family. Consider the new tasks you may be picking up as blessings to each other, instead of hardships to be endured.

This is not to say that things need to be divided right down the middle, but take a look at your spouse and everything on their plate and take a little bit off of it.

Gratitude

If you’re not already keeping one, start a gratitude journal and start recording 5 things every day you can be thankful for. Encourage your children to keep them as well, or try a family journal. Times like these when you are feeling pretty ungrateful for being in quarantine and the loss of income or lifestyle is an especially beneficial time to start this principle of hygge – “fake it til you feel it!“.
Another way you can focus on gratitude is by going around the table at dinnertime and each saying one thing about the day or each other that they are grateful for. Cultivate an atmosphere of gratefulness in your home by speaking gratitude before correction (i.e. “thank you so much for trying to help mommy with this, you are so thoughtful, but next time ask mommy first because it’s a job that needs a grown up; let’s clean this up together”).

Harmony

What are some ways your can bring more harmony to your home? I’m sure you’re already experiencing the extra fights your kids will be having or the extra worries-turned-arguements with your spouse.

Focusing on gratitude and presence will have a positive impact on your relationships, but another technique you can try is to respond not react. Instead of blowing up when your child (or spouse) speaks disrespectfully or makes a mistake, give them the chance to try again. For kids, it helps to stay calm and literally say “try again” when you hear them speaking to you or each other in an unkind or disrespectful way, instead of making a mountain out of it. The skill of responding and not reacting also gives you time to consider whether they are actually being disrespectful or wilfully disobedient or if they are simply acting their age and need your help (which will be most of the time if we get our own feelings out of the way).

With your spouse, instead of focusing on the things they are not doing for you, focus on the things they are. Give your 100% and be the spouse you should be and trust that they will follow suit.

The Love and Respect books by Emerson Eggerich can be really helpful with all of this. I have been LOVING the parenting books he wrote, especially the Love and Respect in the Family book.

Comfort

Hot coffee. Fuzzy blankets. Quiet baths.

Whatever brings comfort to you, do those things together or alone.

Truce

Are you ready? This is the hard one, folks. I think we all know that you don’t bring up politics at dinner parties, but you get into a group online and suddenly we feel like we can release the onslaught of our feelings and opinions. The extra stress and uncertainty brought on by being in quarantine from the Coronavirus can have us all ready to pounce when someone voices a differing opinion.

Just be nice. Can we disagree? Sure. But consider before speaking whether what you are saying needs to be said. Is it helpful? Is it kind? If not, then don’t say it or rephrase it so it is.

Within your home there may be things you disagree about. Have always disagreed about. Call a truce and focus on the things you agree on instead of spending so much time on the things you don’t.

Is it helpful? Is it kind? If not, then don’t say it or rephrase it so it is.

Togetherness

Relationships first. Before the work that you are doing at home, before checking the news about the Coronavirus and quarantine, before being right or being first. Make people the priority and we will all come out of this better for it.

This doesn’t mean not working from home or taking time for you. Nor does it mean that you have to put in an hour with your kids before starting your work (although filling their love banks that way often works well). It’s more of a mental thing. Keep them first in your mind so that you can balance the things your are doing FOR them (work) with the things you are doing WITH them.

We are also ALL in this together (globally!), so pointing fingers, ratting on neighbours, and hoarding all of the toilet paper isn’t helpful. Or kind. If you did panic hoard toilet paper, consider dropping off a roll to each of your senior neighbours, along with your cell phone number in case they need anything. Seniors seem to be extra resistant to the quarantine measures, and they need it more than anyone!

Shelter

Make your home a sanctuary for all who live there and make your social spaces a safe place for anyone who visits there. Be kind and helpful to everyone you come into contact with (which physically speaking should only be your immediate family!).

What are some ways you are practising Hygge during the Coronavirus quarantine?

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