8 April 2020
I was chatting via message with Matilda this morning, and sharing my confusion and fears about the state of the world at the moment. She responded by saying she’s minimising how much of the media coverage of our current state of affairs, she’s choosing to take in. I admire that. I wish it was me. I teach others to just ‘be’ and to take a moment at a time, but I truly find it difficult to do for myself. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by “The Mustards”, and they were chatting about how to create ‘hygge’ at home, so after chatting with Matilda, I first went for a walk. It was much needed.
So what did I learn about ‘hygge’. It’s a Danish word for all things cosy. The Mustard’s describe it as the prevailing essence of one’s home. It apparently gained notoriety in 2013 or so, as a concept of what most Danish homes ‘feel’ like. Directly translated, it means a hug. It’s associated with all those great aspects of comfort and joy. This got me thinking. I don’t have an ugly home. I love my space. My home is filled with things that bring me peace and comfort, for the most part. The things that does destroy my peace, is an untidy, messy home. So, whilst on my walk, I made a decision to change up how I’ve been maintaining my home since lockdown. Let me explain a bit better.
Prior to lockdown, I had a housekeeper that came in four times a week. Because I knew she would come in often, I really didn’t pay attention to what was needed to actually maintain a desired level of cleanliness and tidiness in my home. My housekeeper hasn’t been in since the 3rd March. This is now the seventh week I’m doing my own housework. My daughter who lives with us, helps me with the tasks, but we usually do it every Monday and Friday. I made a decision whilst out walking, that I am going to break the work up, and do a little bit every day and that way, stay on top of things and don’t let anything get out of control. This way, I can be more relaxed and actually enjoy my space. I also realised that I was allowing myself to become anxious and overwhelmed by the tasks.
So today, after getting back from my walk, I put a load of washing in, swept the floors, changed the bin bags upstairs and gave the floors downstairs, a quick mop. All of this, didn’t take me 45 minutes, yet I felt accomplished, peaceful and able to sit down in peace to have my brunch, without thinking about unfinished tasks.
It also occurred to me that there are areas in my home, that bring me a sense of coziness. My bathroom is such a place. I love going in there, lighting candles and having a bubble bath with lovely scents. I enjoy the quiet in there and especially love the sensation of water on my body, washing away the dirt of the day and swirling around my skin in a way that makes me feel most alive. A deep, warm bath, with zero noise besides the soft splashing of the water, is soothing to my senses.
I discovered that there’s a spot in my sitting room where the rays of sunlight in the morning, are muted and gentle, that is cosy to me. I enjoy sitting there, having my morning tea, pondering the day ahead. It’s not a particularly quiet spot, especially with my three year old granddaughter all over the house, but it’s aesthetically pleasing to me. The soft light, is again soothing.
Another favourite space is my bedroom, especially when my bed is made up. It’s something I always tend to do – when I get out of bed in the morning, I immediately make up my bed. This brings me joy. I’m not the type of person that can sleep in an unmade bed, and if I need to go upstairs during the day and enter my bedroom, the sight of it made up for the evening, brings me a sense of satisfaction. I love the smell of fresh linen, so changing the linen each week, is important to me.
Knowing what brings me joy, what creates an atmosphere of coziness in my home, helps me to shift my focus from the outside world, the world I can’t control and the things that conjure up fear in my heart. I simply lay down on my bed in the evening with a book, or put on the telly to watch a favourite series, switch the soft lamp on next to my bed, and bathe in the awareness of the peace that surrounds me there. As Matilda mentioned this morning, I cannot change what’s happening ‘out there’, so I’m making the conscious choice to deliberately center my life around those things that indeed bring me inner peace and joy. And, as we often discover when we take the time to go inward, it’s the little things – and that for me is the light. To be more precise, soft, flickering, creamy, barely-there, downy light.