When it’s cold, think hygge

Denmark, like Canada, experiences long, dreary winters, but it has a secret weapon to combat the feeling of gloom. It is called hygge (pronounced hooguh).

Hygge, put simply, means to create a warm, comfortable atmosphere and enjoy the good things in life with good people. It is a recipe for a more positive outlook and a happier life.

As I understand it, the kinds of things that help create the cozy feeling associated with hygge include lighting candles on a dark evening, wearing woolly socks and warm sweaters, enjoying good food with friends, eating a warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning, creating a special place to read and sip tea — all very soothing activities. But what takes people to the hygge level is for them to lean in and savour these moments.

I plan to explore and embrace hygge as a mindset and lifestyle choice for 2017.

I decided my first hygge treat was to create a spa environment in my home. It is easy to fashion a relaxing environment with a few candles, your favourite music, a hot bath with essential oils and sea salt, and a glass of wine or cup of tea. The hard part is turning off the world and finding some quiet time to unplug and become immersed in the experience. It is worth the effort, though, to achieve the relaxed feeling you attain by taking time for yourself.

To add to the experience, try a spa treatment such as a facial or body scrub.

Here are a few homemade spa recipes to try while you are practicing the art of hygge.

Bath bombs

  • 1⁄4 c. baking soda 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch 25 mL
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp. canola oil 20 mL
  • 2 drops food colouring
  • 2 tbsp. citric acid 25 mL
  • 1⁄4 tsp. essential oil 1 mL
  • light mist of water
  • mould for shaping bombs

Mix the baking soda and cornstarch. Add the canola oil, the drops of food colouring and the essential oil. Using a water mister, mist the mixture lightly one time. Mix well until there are no lumps and the colour is well blended. Add the citric acid.
Heap as much of the mixture as possible into a mould. Press down very firmly, packing the mixture well. Do not add more mixture to the mould after firmly packing it or it will not create a cohesive bath bomb.
Let the bath bomb air dry for one to two days on a baking rack.
Variation: Use lavender essential oil as well as 1⁄2 teaspoon (2mL) of dried lavender blossoms. Add the lavender blossoms when mixing the baking soda and cornstarch together.

Linolicious lip balm

  • 1 tbsp. grated, unbleached beeswax or beads 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. flaxseed oil 25 mL
  • 1 tsp. liquid honey 5 mL
  • 5 to 6 drops essential oil, such as peppermint

Place wax in a small tin or heatproof container. Fill a small saucepan with 2.5 cm (1 inch) water.
Place tin in water and bring to a simmer. Stir wax with a wooden chopstick until completely melted. Add oil, honey and essential oil and stir well to blend. Pour into pots or tubes. Let sit until completely set, at least 30 minutes.

Yield: 3 tbsp. (45 mL)
Source: healthyflax.org

Avocado-ginger moisture scrub

  • 2-3 fresh avocado pits
  • 1 c. yogurt 250 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger .5 mL
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL

Let the avocado pits dry for a few days, but not to the point of becoming rock hard or they will break your spice mill.
Using a spice mill or coffee grinder, grind the dried avocado pits to create grainy, mealy powder.
Add yogurt to the powder and mix to form a paste.
Add ginger and canola oil. Stir well. Sitting or standing in the bathtub or shower, pat avocado paste all over your body using a circular motion.
Don’t forget to apply this mixture to your face, too. Leave on for 10 minutes and then shower, first with warm water and then cooler water. Pat dry.
Source: Canolainfo.org

Flaxseed hair gel

  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds 60 mL
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • pint size mason jar
  • nylon stocking

Pour water and flax in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.
Simmer on medium for five to eight minutes or until it reaches desired consistency.
Cover mason jar with nylon stocking and slowly pour the flax mixture into the jar through the nylon. Squeeze the nylon until all the flax gel has come through the nylon.
Cool to room temperature. Add essential oil.
Cover and refrigerate.
Source: healthyflax.org

Sugar and flax soap scrub

  • 1/2 c. melt and pour soap base 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. flax oil 30 mL
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops mica colorant-purple
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL

Shred melt and pour base and add to a double boiler. Add flax oil and essential oil and mix well. Add in mica colorant and mix until combined. Add in sugar and mix until well combined. Remove soap from double boiler. Pour soap mixture into moulds. Cool completely for one to two hours before removing from moulds
Source: healthyflax.org

Gardeners intensive hand treatment

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. liquid honey 30 mL
  • 1 drop grapefruit essential oil (optional)
  • plastic wrap
  • 1 pair cotton gloves

Mix all ingredients into a small bowl. Smooth onto hands, wrap in plastic wrap and leave to work under gardening gloves as you tend the garden or under cotton gloves while soaking in the bathtub or sleep overnight.
You will not believe the improvement. Shelf life is about five months. This recipe is easily doubled.
Source: Canolainfo.org

Fresh mint massage oil

  • 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 3 drops eucalyptus
  • 4 drops rosemary oil
  • 2 drops peppermint oil

Blend ingredients together. Pour into a small bottle and seal. Warm up oil before doing any massage. Source Canolainfo.org

Cranberry-date body polish

  • 8 dates
  • 1/3 c. frozen cranberries 75 mL
  • 1/2 c. apricot juice 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. wheat bran 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. canola oil 5 mL

Place ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. While showering, massage this mix onto limbs to exfoliate and moisture.
Source: Canolainfo.org

Dorothy Long is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at prairiekitchencompanion.blogspot.ca. Contact: food@producer.com.

About the author

Dorothy Long's recent articles



Stories from our other publications