By now, you must have seen the word ‘hygge’. And if you haven’t seen it, you probably have heard of the word before, but maybe you didn’t know that it was spelt in this way. Pronounced as ‘hoo-gah’, the term originates from the Danish and Norwegian, which places have some of the highest happiness rating in the world. And that has little to do with coincidence, because apparently, many people attribute these countries’ happiness with hygge.
According to Wikipedia,
"Hygge is a Norwegian and Danish word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment."
Thus, it is not surprising that people who practise the art of hygge have high levels of happiness and satisfaction in their lives. Being in a state or cosiness, warmth and comfort can feel very good and rewarding. And when you are immersed in a culture where so many people are involved in hygge, you will be also sucked into the notion, and a good one at that.
Everyone has different forms of relaxed state, and different preferences for activities that make them calm and blissful. But there are some things that many people deem them to be “hygge”, things that help one to immerse in their state of euphoria.
Denmark and other Scandinavian countries are some of the top candle-burners in the world due to their hygge lifestyle. In practising hygge, it is not uncommon to see people burning candles. After all, the soft glow of the flame gives people a warm and fuzzy feeling. And imagine huddling in soft cotton blankets, you will feel a sense of bliss overcoming you.
Speaking of blankets, everyone loves huddling and cuddling something soft and warm. Seldom does anyone wants to sleep in a cold bed, unless you’re in a warm tropical climate. That feeling of wrapping yourself with soft cotton blanks or covers will give you immense joy and happiness. In a dim room with candles surrounding you with their warm glow, and cosying up with softness, there will no doubt be a sense of satisfaction and joy blossoming from your heart.
And just when you think there is nothing more that can make you happier and more relaxed, there spring more surprises, because you actually can do more to enhance your hygge. Denmark and other Scandinavian countries have some of the highest amount of sweets, chocolates and other sugary goodies consumed. In these countries, you can find many pastries shops and their desserts are both beautiful and delicious. With so much sweetness on their tongues, it is no wonder people practising hygge have so much sweetness in their hearts and in their life.
After telling you the essentials of the hygge lifestyle, you may definitely want to try them out! But hold your horses, because with everything you do, you need to know the ‘why’. Why would you want to adopt the hygge lifestyle? What are you looking for?
Happiness would be a good answer, if that’s yours. After all, people often do things in pursuit of their interests, goals and passion. But if you are unsure, and the thought of having a cosy and warm feeling in your heart and soul is enough to move you towards the direction of hygge, perhaps there is something more underlying that intent, and perhaps it is because your life has been too fast-paced.
Living in a society that is constantly moving and constantly on the go, it can be difficult to find time for yourself to rewind and engage in some self-care. Our electronics like our laptops and phones are always near, and so we are never truly by ourselves: family, friends and work commitments can reach us easily.
Practising hygge can allow us to take a step back and truly focus on ourselves. the initial setup may be a bit confusing, but the logistics aren’t much and you can easily create the blissful environment and surroundings to pamper your body and your mind for a bit. Mark my words, you won’t regret hygge.
Nilufer Tea offers organic herbal tea that can also help you achieve a calm mind and balanced soul. With the power of various herbs and flowers, these herbal teas can help boost your energy levels and improve your overall well-being. Our large selection of teas means that there is something for everyone!
Hailing from North India more than 5,000 years ago, yoga has been practised in the pursuit of increasing longevity and rejuvenating the body. Today, yoga is practised all over the world - a recent study by the Yoga Journal revealed that more than 36 million people practice yoga in the United States today. We even had an interview with a dedicated yogini, Shanti Milla who has ascertained the joys that yoga bring, alongside her practice of Tibetan medicine.
Yoga's benefits have been touted far and wide by people all over the world - but what exactly is it about holding poses and stretches that is so amazing? Well, lucky for us, we don't have to be hardcore yogis to be able to reap its benefits. Read on to find out 10 things that make yoga so amazing for both our fitness and mind. Before you know it, you'll be stepping onto a mat!
A huge part of yoga consists of holding poses for a period of time, and thus stretches and loosens the muscles in our body. While you might not be able to do some stretches when you first start out, as long as you continue pushing, your muscles will loosen with time. The increased flexibility from constant stretches can help to relieve frequent pain and muscle aches. One of the most common causes of back pain is tight hamstrings, which results in flattening of the spine. So, hang in there with your poses - don't give up, for a little goes a long way!
Thanks to all our bad habits in our daily lives - like craning our necks to look at our phones, or sitting for hours at a desk - we develop bad postures that take a toll on our spine. By incorporating various yoga stretches into our daily routine, we build an awareness of our body that we previously did not have, allowing us to be more mindful of our posture, and whether we are slouching. Of course, with more stretching, our muscles open up and knots untangle, leading to better postures and a more relaxed spine. Try out the Tadasana (mountain pose), or the Vriksasana (tree pose) for 15 minutes a day, and you'll see an improvement in your posture in no time.
Apart from boosting our physical health, yoga also has an endless number of benefits for our mental and emotional health. A huge part of yoga encompasses a concept called mindfulness - the act of bringing our awareness to the present and accepting what is occurring without any judgment or reaction. By practising mindfulness through meditation, problems and conflicts we face in our life will seem easier to solve, or get through. Through mindfulness, we learn how to redefine the way we deal with our problems - instead of actively trying to reduce or fight against it, we accept it - and as our perspectives shift, we realise that these problems that are causing us to be unhappy aren't that important after all.
A recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School revealed that yoga tremendously improves sleep quality and quantity for people who suffer from insomnia. Having a meditation and asana routine before bed can help to slow down our mind and body processes, easing the transition into sleep and allowing us to relax just in time for bed.
The different stretches and poses in yoga aid in relaxation, which promotes blood circulation around the body. Twisting poses such as the Revolved Triangle Pose help to push out venous blood from organs, and allow freshly oxygenated blood to be pumped back into the organs once the pose is released. Also, inverted poses, such as the handstand, pumps blood from the legs and pelvis to the heart to be oxygenated. This can aid if you are facing swelling in your feet or knees.
A huge part of yoga revolves around meditation and concentrating on what is going on right now - which is also known as mindfulness. By regularly training our minds to focus on one thing, we learn how to organise our thoughts and reduce our mental stress from other irrelevant matters. This eventually leads to a more peaceful and stable mind - which allows us to recall things more easily and effectively.
Although yoga is rarely aerobic in nature, high intensity yoga classes such as Ashtanga classes can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range and get your blood pumping. With a better blood circulation, the risk of heart disease is lowered. Even for patients who have just recovered from a heart attack or heart surgery, yoga is perfect as a form of cardiac rehabilitation as it is less strenuous.
By practicing yoga regularly, it encourages us to lead a more active lifestyle which burns more calories and increases our fitness levels. In addition, practicing mindfulness can aid in cultivating healthy eating habits by being aware of our cravings, and thereby reducing the desire to binge or snack due to stress or unhappiness. With an increased sensitivity to hunger cues and a more active lifestyle, a boost to weight loss can be expected.
Now that you're more than acquainted with the immense benefits of yoga, it's time to close your laptop and step onto the mat. Namaste!
Overworked and lacking sleep? What are you stressed about? In our day-to-day routines, stress is inevitable. Your poor soul feels bruised and battered by the various catastrophes on the flip side of the globe or stressful situations in your personal backyard. Your blood boils on a regular basis because of a horrible work environment, strained relationships or even a wearisome commute to work. All these sources of stress exist beyond our control, but we can stop, slow down and de-stress. Here are 5 ways you can regulate your stress and keep your well-being in check.
Don’t operate in your stressed state all the time, mind your breath whilst you can! You may roll your eyes as we tell you to take a deep breath but it takes a mere few seconds and it will allow your troubled mind to relax in under two minutes. Breathing is our second nature and it’s an all-natural chill pill, so no matter where you are or however difficult the situation at hand may be, pause for a moment and do a short breathing exercise. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, holding each breath for seven counts or seconds. Repeat the cycle three times to calm yourself down quick! You can thank us for this fuss-free solution later.
And ah, our favourite method to decompress and reduce stress. Sip your way to leisure and soothe stress-related ailments with some tea, a traditional relaxation technique used to combat stress for centuries. We love a regular cup of white tea (for additional protection against oxidative stress) or a gentle herbal infusion that you can find at Nilufer Tea. In times of crisis, there is nothing else but to keep calm and drink tea. Bonus points if you pick up organic teas from sustainable sources.
Allow your tensed brain to reset and recover with exercise as it reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphin, a feel-good hormone that can help foster relaxation. Take a moment to walk through a green space with an abundance of fresh air, swim or attend a yoga class. A short stroll may do wonders to your mind too!
Akin to processed carbs and refined sugars, the vast world of social media will elicit cravings and provide an initial boost of pleasure. Each new notification triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which drives us to seek rewards, so you’d keep coming back for more. But, it’s a vicious cycle that takes a toll on your mental health in the long run and makes you feel blah afterwards. We’d recommend you unplug and unwind. Try a social media detox for a month or at least shorten your time online. Not every single email, Facebook message or flat-lay of your avocado toast matters.
Aromatherapy is an alternative practice which taps into the healing power of scents through essential oils extracted from plants. It is an excellent method for stress-relief as scents are powerful and can impact our bodies through our nervous system. Dilute a few drops of bergamot, lavender or ylang ylang oil with water and let it diffuse into the air. Otherwise, add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil into a carrier oil and rub onto your acupressure points for comfort. Be careful not to rub the essential oil directly on your skin as it is potent and may cause slight burning of your skin.
We hope at least one of our five stress-busters will lead you to a happier, healthier and stress-free life. Remember, weekends are for recovery and relaxation! And nothing beats personal well-being.
Written by Valerie Tan