How to survive winter blues


Tribune News Service

HAPPINESS. The Scandinavian concept of “hygge,” loosely translated to “cozy,” can help with your winter blues. Hygge means treasuring the daily moments shared with family or with oneself like a warm pair of socks or a cup of hot chocolate. Practicing hygge can make you a more mindful and grateful person this winter.

When the days get dark at 5:00 p.m. and the sky grows grey and clouded, we all know to bundle up for a Midwestern winter.

However, the Scandinavian tradition of “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”) can help combat those winter blues.

Hygge is the concept of enjoying small, cozy moments like a warm cup of coffee or an evening with friends. It ties to the idea of mindfulness by appreciating the details of a day and prioritizing social interactions and warm memories.

“Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland all made the top five [of the happiest countries in the world],” according to

Practicing hygge contributes to one’s overall well being and happiness by finding joy in small moments and enjoying candles and long chats over tea, as is the tradition in these countries.

Danes are good at focusing on what brings them a better quality of life,” said Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, to Elle UK.

Hygge can alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is characterized by decreased levels of serotonin due to a lack of sunlight and is most prominent in the winter.

“It is especially important to remember to enjoy the small things in life when it gets gloomy out because it’s easy to fall into a spiral of wintertime sadness. I like to paint, enjoy a hot drink, or hang out with friends to stay positive in the colder months,” said Kiri Wang, 12.