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Hygge for Working Moms!

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If you haven’t heard of Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) then join the club. Yes, it’s so 2016, but I hadn’t heard of Hygge until this year. I recently read the book, “The Finnish Way,” which made me curious about another Nordic country concept–Hygge. Hygge is the Danish concept of comfort and simple living. The Danish word doesn’t have an appropriate English translation, but overall it is the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming.

Whatever it is. Sign me up!

There are certain things essential to Hygge–good lighting, hot drinks, simple pleasures, and enjoying the outdoors. It may be especially difficult for moms to Hygge. There is always something annoying and/or emotionally overwhelming going on in my life! As moms (all moms are working moms!), we are always on the hustle. Whether we are rushing to get ready in the mornings, dropping off our kids, helping with homework, making phone calls– we are busy and in need Hygge more than ever.

Here are the 11 things I’ve done to embrace Hygge as a Working Mom.

1. Night Prep is Essential.

Night prep allows me to have a relatively slow moving and relaxed morning. The more I do at night, the better my mornings are. If you work nights (flip the equation).

  • I shower at night after my kids go to bed or sometimes I take a hot bath with candles.
  • I put aside leftovers for lunch.
  • I clean and prep bottles and prep my son’s cloth diaper bag.
  • I pack my daughter’s snack. I’m in the season where I have put money aside for my daughter to purchase lunch at school. It’s one less thing for my husband or I to do. I packed her lunch and snacks all summer when she was in summer camp, so I needed a break!
  • I straighten the kitchen and load the dishwasher. My husband usually cooks.
  • Sign permission slips or make sure homework is done.
  • Review my to do list. I might need for the morning.
  • Check our calendars.
  • On Sunday evenings I pick out my clothes for the week. My husband helps our little girl pick out hers for the week.

RELATED CONTENT: How to plan your life.

2. Slow down (unless you’re running late).

The key to Hygge is simple and slower paced living. I noticed I typically walk at a brisk pace, not for exercise but because I want to hurry up and get where I want to go. I caught myself doing that in the morning and decided to purposefully slow myself down. I walked slower and tried to take in the environment. Slowing down to enjoy your surroundings does not always jive with the American concept that “time is money!” Then again, so is your health (physical and mental). If you don’t have your health then you won’t be able to earn money.

3. Drink something hot.

Most of us are already doing this part of Hygge, as we have a cup of hot coffee or tea in the mornings. However, I’m usually gulping down my coffee in a to-go tumbler as I’m running out the door with my baby in tow. I still need to take my coffee to go, but I am trying to sip my coffee, savoring it a little more on the drive. This slow sip method allows me to enjoy my coffee longer. Note: You need a good coffee mug, so your coffee doesn’t get cold.

4. Lighting.

Many of us may not be able to adjust the lighting at work (i.e. if you work in the medical field bright lights are essential and some may not have their own offices or desk space). If however, you can adjust your lighting–do it. I plugged in a desk lamp and turned off one of the fluorescent lights in my office. The lower lighting created a more soothing atmosphere.

5. Enjoy Spending Time with Others.

I stopped to chat with people, without thinking of where else I needed to be. This won’t apply every day. There are some days I’m in a time crunch, but if you can chat with someone for a few minutes then do it. Try to focus on the conversation and not on the next place you need to go. Be present.

6. Stop multi-tasking.

As a mom there are plenty of times I’m feeding the baby, while I’m reading my 5 year old. Some multitasking is inevitable. There are other times when I’m trying to do two things at once just to save time, like make a phone call while typing an email. Why not stop what I’m doing so I can focus my attention on the phone call? There was a study on how interruptions damage our productivity. Once you’re interrupted it takes 23 minutes to refocus on what you were doing beforehand. According to efficiency experts work interruptions can cost you hours a day.

7. Bring comfort.

Depending on your work space or your job you may or may not be able to bring something to work that gives you comfort. I work in an office with a desk so I was able to bring in some comfortable slippers to wear under my desk. As soon as I have to get up or walk around, I put my regular shoes on. Again, this may not work for most people, but if you can find something that gives you comfort then use it. If you can afford it, buy an ergonomic chair. If you can’t afford a chair, purchase a comfortable chair pillow. I purchased a coccyx orthopedic pillow for my tailbone for a tailbone injury I had some years ago.

8. Stretch Whenever You Can.

I will stretch at my desk or get up walk to the bathroom. Taking every opportunity I have to move or stretch helps my mood, as well as my body. Check out this link for stretch routines you can do at your desk.

9. Enjoy the Outdoors or Bring the Outdoors In.

I try to take a walk outside as much as I can, even if it’s a quick walk around the building. Any kind of movement is better than none. If you can’t go outside, perhaps you can bring a plant into your work space or step outside briefly for a bit of fresh air. Anything to get your Hygge on!

10. Reading.

Reading is an important part of Hygge. I read a lot on maternity leave, but I haven’t had as much time to read now that I’m back at work. However, I’m trying to incorporate more reading in my life at night or on lunch breaks. Even if I can only get a few pages in, it helps. If I can’t read, I will listen to a podcast from my phone on my way to and from work.

11. Put Your Phone Away/Stay Away From Social Media.

This should be a given at work, but many of us continuously looking at our phones throughout the day. Suffice it to say, social media frequently contains annoying and emotionally overwhelming things. All the more reason to stay away from it during your work day! Admittedly, I keep my phone on my desk in case school or daycare calls, but I try not to refer to it unless I get a phone call. It’s been extremely reinvigorating to stay away from social media throughout the day. If you do check your social media, do so sparingly and place a time limit on it. If you have a slow time at work there are other things to do with your time. Listen to a webinar or a podcast, organize your files (paper or electronic), clean your desk drawers, take a coffee break.

I hope my search for Hygge encourages you. I leave you with one of my favorite scriptures about comfort.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [a] gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” NKJV (Matthew 11:28-30)

#hygge, #minimalism, #moms, #selfcare #worklifebalance

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