Making Cozy Winter

A recent radio segment discussed how to follow the example of Scandinavians in winter.

The radio segment is called “Hunker Down Week: Hygge”. It was presented on “All of It” with Alison Stewart.

As winter approaches and we all start spending more time indoors, maybe we should adopt koselig, the Norwegian equivalent of the Danish hygge. Stanford University health psychologist Kari Leibowitz shares what she learned from Norwegians when she moved to the Arctic Circle to find out how they survive the very short days and extremely long nights, as part of our “Hunker Down Week.”

The Finnish word for cozy is kodikas, according to Google.

There’s also another word, kalsarikannit, which translates to something like relaxing at home and enjoying drinks in your underwear.

Photo by Olivier Darny from Pexels
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

The segment got me thinking about the photos from a Finnish friend and the images she frequently shares of her walks in what seems like a fairy landscape. She also apparently spent some time away from electricity and other devices in a cabin in Lapland.

She started sharing photos of her home after decking it out in many, many tea candles. 

And, yes, her home does look cozy. 

I came back to the episode later because I was curious about the psychologist and I wanted to see if she had more tips. I found her website, which features the article “What Scandinavians Can Teach Us About Embracing Winter” from the New York Times.

In the pandemic, rather than feeling depressed that the arrival of cold weather will mean you’ll be isolated indoors, try adopting a positive winter mind-set.

You can also read her research paper about it, if that’s your thing.

She has 3 tips for embracing winter:
  1. Get outside. She talked about this in the interview. Basically, she was saying that Scandinavians view being outdoors very positively, even in bad weather. She mentioned that after spending time in Norway, she realized she’d been dressing incorrectly for winter her whole life — even though she group up in New Jersey! I’m inspired to start looking for warm snow pants and a better winter coat.
  2. Make winter special. This is where she mentions hygge, which is also discussed in the interview. But, she said it’s more than just candles and socks. It’s like a comfort and openness to feeling close to friends. Or creating an environment in which good conversations can be had. Next time I attend a hygge, koselig, or kodikas dinner party, I’m going to congratulate the host.
  3. Appreciate winter. I don’t know about this. Well…maybe I do enjoy all the cooking I get to do when it’s not too hot to use the stove and the oven.

My big takeaway from all of this is that I need to make sure I’m properly dressed when headed outside in inclement weather. I may invest in a new rain jacket and potentially another coat that’s more water repellant than what I have now.

Featured image credit: Heather on Flickr.