406 Woman Vol.13 No.3 Lifestyle

Page 90

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Igniting

Well-Being in the Midst of Winter

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Written by Emily Swisher, LCPC Photo by Morgan and Joe Jameson at Jameson Images

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After the momentum of the holiday season has passed, the winter months are usually associated with stagnation and an itch for the warmer weather in the months to come. In viewing winter as something to be endured, rather than celebrated, we can easily slide into a mental funk. With Covid restricting our interactions with friends and community, it will be important to be intentional around our mental well-being this winter when we are already prone to isolate. I’ve always been envious of Nordic cultures that seem to thrive throughout winter with countries such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway consistently ranking as the happiest countries year after year. Does the answer

to appreciating the dormant winter months lie in the Norwegian concept of Hygge, the idea of creating a cozy environment for an optimal sense of wellbeing? Bringing intention and festivity to the acts of our diet, home, family, and community can absolutely bring joy and these ideas already underlie many of our winter holiday traditions.

For hundreds of years, cultures have been bringing boughs of evergreen and holly into homes to remind ourselves of the life that exists even in the most frigid and frozen of climates. Adorning our home environments with decoration, lighting, and music can be stimulating and uplifting, contrasting the snowcovered landscape outside. Creativity and generosity such as baking, theatre, crafts, and music are gifts meant to be shared amongst the ones we love most. Creating a cozy home environment and spending quality time with friends and family can only go so far in maintaining mental wellness however, and awareness of our physical and emotional needs can be more critical.