In my Washington, DC Life Coaching, I find that many of my clients have created a life that’s stuck in stone, a calendar full of shoulds, people pleasing, self-doubt and fears that are obeyed instead of challenged.
Busy people often feel they are in their “power place” when they are doing instead of being. I believe this is often what we do when we are unconsciously anxious. We know we need rest, but we somehow find ourselves with a packed schedule, overcommitted and overstretched. Being busy is our way of trying to avoid the fear of not being “enough.” If we never have time to stop and feel, then we never have to face our inner critic.
Resolve to “Be”
At this time of year, there is pressure pushing us to “do” the things we resolve to do. We are driven towards perfection and control instead of surrender, healing and love. This runs totally contrary to what is happening outside your window right now. During this time of resolutions, look outside at nature. What is happening there? Everything has slowed down, stopped even. In January, all of nature is in deep hibernation. Even your dog, cat or other animal is probably resting right now.
Coach Yourself to Cozy
What if the keys to a fulfilling life at this time of year were more about …
- Letting go (rather than adding more)
- Allowing (rather than pushing)
- Getting cozy (rather than going out)
- Saying “no” (rather than saying “yes”)?
The Danish people are arguably experts in this. Hygge, pronounced “hoo-guh,” is their term that loosely translated, refers to coziness, comfort, conviviality, contentment and well-being.
“What freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes,” Meik Wiking says in book The Little Book Of Hygge. The Danish national obsession with getting cozy – which can include things like sweaters, soft blankets, candles, a good book and a fire – is said to be one of the reasons Denmark often tops the list of the world’s happiest countries, despite their infamously miserable winters. Denmark is also a wealthy country, but its people have recognized that after basic needs are met, more money doesn’t lead to more happiness. Creating a sanctuary in their homes, they hold the values of simplicity, cheerfulness, reciprocity, community and belonging in highest regard. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we Americans could, even for just one season, catch on to this way of life?
How Do I “Hygge”?
Sorry, staring at your phone all day – even if in front of a fire! – is the least hygge thing out there. TV is okay, but try inviting some friends over to watch movies with you since togetherness is another key part of being hygge. In January, my ritual is to watch all the Oscar-nominated movies.
What you eat is also essential to creating those cozy vibes and it’s all about homemade sweets, comfort food and hot drinks (in moderation of course). While restaurants can have a hygge atmosphere (think candles on the table and a fireplace in the back), spending tons of money on an expensive meal is very un-hygge. It’s more about comfort and familiarity.
How to Say “No” & Embrace What You Need
My hard-working Washington, DC life and career coaching clients often struggle with finding a healthy work-life balance. Most are high-achieving people, yet still unsatisfied with their lives. (Last year I put this list together to help high-achieving people learn to unplug from work and really begin to live their lives to the fullest.)
I have found that learning to say “no” is a big part of beginning to embrace a better way of life. We don’t like saying “no,” and we don’t like hearing it. But it is the sharpest weapon we have in the clash between our desire to connect with and please others and our need to assert and defend our individuality and autonomy. (I wrote a post some years back with quick ways to take control of our speech, feel better and communicate more effectively with more intentional words. Read it here.)
- If you say, I can’t eat chocolate cake, you’re implying that you’re not in control and that external factors drive you. You’re also begging the question, Why not?
- If you say, I don’t eat chocolate cake, it signals that this is your policy and that it stems from your identity. It is empowering.
When you get more comfortable saying “no,” you like yourself better, you’re more present to yourself, you actually believe in yourself, and you can better manage your inner dialogue.
So hygge = hibernating indoors alone all winter long? While saying “no” to busy perfectionism, staying indoors all day long drinking hot chocolate and reading your favorite book alone is certainly hygge, getting outside to go for a long walk (yes, even in the winter) and spending time with friends and family is also a crucial part of the idea.
Need an ally in this work? Learning to embrace what is best for us and saying “no” selectively to things that drain our precious energy can be challenging. But I believe that we can change our lives one day at a time. We’re not broken, and we don’t need fixing. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. With the right tools, powerful questions and the intention to create something great, through life coaching we can determine where we want to be and get there. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.
Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to explore the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my Washington, DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.