Keep Cosy and Create Some Calm this Spring

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There’s a lot to love about this time of year. With Christmas and New Year behind us, we can enjoy some welcome respite from the hurly burly of shopping, spending and visiting.

And with the rain, wind and cool of late winter and early spring keeping us indoors, now is the perfect time to turn down the lights, switch off from the outside world, and get cosy at home.

Shorter days and less sunlight have been linked to feelings of sadness or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) over the winter, but could turning our homes into a cosy haven help to alleviate this? We took a look at a handful of ways your house can help boost wellbeing.

Taking inspiration from hygge

Scandinavian countries are well-known for having some of the happiest populations in the world, with Finland leading the way. The Danish are also very happy, with Denmark coming in second in the World Happiness Report 2022. Some attribute this to the philosophy of hygge, which many people in Denmark live by.

Ideas of hygge can vary from person to person but its concept focuses on the things that bring you joy or create a warm atmosphere, a way of appreciating the small things in life, and spending quality time with loved ones: similar to practising mindfulness – but keeping ideas of cosy at home, a peaceful haven in the middle of our lives where we can feel safe and relaxed.

Neighbouring Nordic countries are also known to practice hygge, which might also help to explain why they also tend to rank highly when it comes to happiness.

What is it about ‘cosiness’ that gives us a well-being boost?

Create the simple calm of Hygge at home. Image: Shutterstock.

When the weather is cold (and more often than not, drizzly), feeling warm, dry and comfortable in your home is the ultimate joy, and its beneficial effects on your well-being can be both physical and mental. Physically, daily stresses can cause you to hold a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders. And, just like the effect of sinking into a hot bath, feeling warm and cosy can help to ease your muscles.

The concept of cosiness can also help to relax your mind. We spend a lot of time on the go, rushing around with a seemingly endless list of tasks. A haven is a place to escape that – to slow down, disconnect from everyday worries and stresses, and focus on your immediate surroundings.

Taking some ‘me-time’, surrounding yourself with soft furnishings, and spending time in a cosy nook are all things that can help you to relax.

How to turn your home into a relaxing haven

Bringing in blankets, throws, and plenty of cushions is essential – find something that can truly envelop you in softness and warmth.

Think about what you’re wearing. In a cosy haven, comfort is of the utmost importance. Loungewear and thick pyjamas can be just what you need to help you feel warm and snug – and don’t be afraid to put on your nightwear well before going to bed. A pair of chunky wool socks can keep your toes toasty all through the night!

The warm yellow glow of candles and lighting is also a must for building a cosy haven. Find a fragrance that is warming and relaxing, such as one that contains ylang-ylang or amber, to complete the atmosphere.

Don’t worry about applying these to every room. One of the beauties of creating a sanctuary for yourself is that it can be centred in one room, or even a single chair or spot on your sofa.

And the benefits of cosiness can mean more than just being physically warm. According to the principles of hygge, it’s as much about how you feel in your home as how it looks.

The joys of friends, family, food and drink

Food to delight the senses. Image: Shutterstock.

Cosiness can also relate to food and drink. Unlike comfort eating, which can be associated with eating to cope with tough times – think about preparing food that delights you. The act of cooking can also be a mood booster because it gives you a chance to appreciate your own skills and small accomplishments.

Spending time with loved ones is another important tenet of turning your home into a cosy haven and living by the principles of hygge. The act of sharing what you love has its own wellbeing benefits, such as inviting friends over to enjoy tea, coffee, or other hot drinks together while you catch up. Even just talking on the phone for a few minutes can lift your mood while you’re at home. The cosy blankets mentioned above? Try sharing them with a family member as you watch TV or read together.

However you choose to carve out your little haven, always remember that the most important thing is the feeling of warmth and cosiness. Whether it’s making a cup of tea, reading a magazine, listening to music, or laughing with friends, take time out from your hectic days to be present and allow yourself to be soothed by the small things around you.

With thanks to Cath Kidston.

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Felicity Donohoe