If you’re soon to become a first-time parent, we want to start off by saying a huge “congratulations!”. We understand that an occasion as significant as this can encourage a whirlwind of emotions, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious as well as excited and proud.
Because of this, we want to introduce you to a term you may not have heard of before: hygge. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that roughly translates to ‘cosiness’ and describes a warm, relaxing atmosphere. Those who practice hygge believe in wholly enjoying the ‘little’ things in life.
How can hygge improve your life
There are a multitude of benefits to following the hygge lifestyle, many of which will contribute to a happier, more soothing environment for first-time parents. Reduced levels of stress, lowered depression and anxiety, increased optimism, and increased self-esteem are all positive benefits associated with practising hygge.
Denmark is continuously ranked highly among the happiest countries in the world, and hygge plays a crucial role in this. Evidently, it works, so why wouldn’t the rest of the world want to at least give it a go? There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain. When welcoming a newborn into this world, especially when it’s your first time doing so, you should look towards whatever avenues are available to improve your experience.
How to practice hygge
Hygge can mean something different to everyone. Used as both a noun and an adjective in Denmark, it represents a way of life more than just one or two things. Essentially, to follow a hygge lifestyle, you must regularly and mindfully practice the things that bring you solace.
In Denmark, the following things are considered hygge:
- Tracksuit bottoms
- Comfort food
- Hot drinks
If there’s something specific to you and your life that makes you feel warm, comfortable, and at peace, regularly indulging in that something is classed as hygge. For new mums and dads, creating a cosy atmosphere that allows you to unwind physically and mentally becomes even more crucial, for your wellbeing and the baby’s.
How not to practice hygge
As a society, we’ve picked up some bad habits that are very much not the way to practice hygge! Life can get so busy, it’s true, and with multiple responsibilities on the go, and our mobile phones making us accessible 24/7, it can be easy to get swept up in the type of behaviour that actually prevents us from feeling relaxed and calm. This includes:
- Staring at a phone or computer screen all day
- Spending too much time indoors alone
- Purchasing unnecessary products just to be ‘on trend’
Becoming a parent for the first time may mean you don’t have the time, effort, or disposable cash to give the above list much attention, but you may find that other things get in the way of you and your hygge intentions. Remember to breathe, relax, and make time for the things that help you do both.
Top hygge tips for new mums and dads
Remember to look after yourself – As a new parent, it may feel like your own wellbeing has taken inferiority over your baby’s, which can be a common occurrence. In what feels like a blink of an eye, you’ve gone from having just yourself to look after to now having a whole other life that’s completely dependent on you.
To practice hygge during this exciting, staggering milestone, make sure you carve out time to look after yourself. When your newborn is asleep or spending time with relatives, have a hot bubble bath, make a cup of tea, put on a fresh pyjama set, and snuggle up with your favourite book. You’ll be a better parent for it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Life as a new mum or dad can be stressful – but remember that you’re not alone! To enforce feelings of cosiness and serenity, you need to reduce feelings of worry and tension, and asking for help can tip the scales in hygge’s favour.
Don’t feel like you’re being a burden, either. Chances are that the family and friends around you will want to help because they will want to spend time with your adorable new mini-me. Even if it’s asking your mother-in-law to babysit for one hour while you catch up on life admin, or enlisting the help of your sister to make sure you’re doing bath time the right way. Whatever would be helpful to you and your situation, don’t be afraid to ask.
Detox from technology – If you get a spare minute or two to yourself, try not to reach for your phone or spend that sacred time on the computer. Mobile devices and heavy social media usage can lead to both psychological and physical issues and, therefore, should always be used sparingly. As a new parent, this becomes even more important as your responsibilities and duties have rapidly expanded, and an excellent attention span becomes fundamental.
Use this time to detox from technology. With your hands full with a newborn and time already against you, this is the perfect time to start. Keep any unnecessary technology out of sight and allocate yourself a specific point in the day when you’re allowed just fifteen or twenty minutes to use it. Not only is this good for your health, but it’s also a simple way to practice hygge and reap the benefits of doing so.
We wish you the best of luck on your new journey
Becoming a parent for the first time is a huge milestone… and it’s not supposed to be plain sailing. Embrace every part of the journey and appreciate the downs just as much as the ups. Using what you’ve learned about hygge, you should be able to create a happier, more tranquil environment that will help nurture both yourself and the baby. Good luck!
Photo by Stella Rose on Unsplash