So excited to introduce you to Erica Lee from the blog The Hygge Wife. Today she’ll be sharing her journey in pursuing simplicity, how she discovered “hygge” – the Danish word associated with togetherness and coziness and how it changed her life. Please, grab a cuppa and join me in welcoming Erica and diving into her story.
My journey with simple living began many years ago. However, it wasn’t until last year when I discovered hygge and then became a mother that I really put these concepts into practice. I wanted to make a better life for myself and for my family…and that meant getting more intentional with everything that I did: how I spent my time, what mattered to me, what businesses I wanted to support and what values I wanted my home to convey. This journey has changed my life; from how I spend my time each day to how I run my household, I’ve had to make a lot of (well worth it) changes.
As I continue to adopt the concepts of simple living, I have had to adapt my daily routines and habits to fit in harmony with this lifestyle.
Simple changes, big impact….
One of the biggest lifestyle changes that I made when trying to simplify and slow down was to take up journaling. I’ve always liked writing…but previously lacked the motivation to keep a journal every day. However, I noticed that when I did take the time to write…no matter what I wrote, I was more intentional throughout my day, I was gentler with myself and others and it was easier to stick to my other intentions for living a simpler lifestyle.
In my day-to-day life, I try to remember that not everything has to be done hurriedly. I used to hurry through household chores or even feeding my baby, in order to get these things done so that I could move on to the next thing. However, I’ve realized that our household cannot run without those things (and obviously babies must be fed). I now block out larger amounts of time for those things, and the other things fit in where they can. Because I know I have already allocated plenty of time for the necessities (including taking a walk each day, cooking, eating, etc.) I know that I can move more slowly and really enjoy the ordinary moments as they unfold. No more rushing down the to-do list. Things will get done when they need to. This mindset of moving more slowly doesn’t have to mean being less productive…just that we have to cut out the things that aren’t really getting us closer to living our ideal lifestyle. In fact, it actually takes quite a bit of structuring and scheduling to simplify, especially in the beginning.
Doing what matters…
So as far as living simply as a family, we actually have more structure now than we did before adopting this lifestyle. It sounds counterintuitive, but simple living isn’t necessarily about doing less. It’s about doing what matters, and being intentional about how you do it. We asked ourselves questions such as, “How do we really want to spend our time? What do we want to have done by the end of the day? The week? The year?” This provided a foundation for setting a family schedule for how our time should be spent when we’re not doing necessary tasks (eating, sleeping, working, bathing). We also created a ‘hygge manifesto’ for our home…it is a list of things that my husband and I wrote about how our home should make us (or anyone who enters our home for that matter) feel. It should be a place where all who enter feel safe, secure, that they belong and that they are valuable contributors…I believe that all of these values, when done effectively, increase one’s connection to their ‘home’ as both a shelter and as a community. We connect more with those we live with when we feel a deep connection to our homes themselves.
Being intentional with our time…
We have also adopted a more structured schedule regarding what we consider “family time” vs “free time”, and when technology is and is not welcome. We consider family time to be time when everyone is present, there are no distractions from cell phones or emails…and generally no technology at all. We hike, cook together, share meals and play games, and it is about the togetherness of it…we are all focused on the good of the family rather than what the individual gets out of the experience. Alternatively, free time is the time when it is okay for us to do our own thing…relax or use technology. However, in the evenings, we unplug one hour before bedtime…our term for it is “Amish hour” and it has changed the way I think about technology, how I sleep and how rested I feel in the mornings. I have a blog post on it here where you can read more about adopting it yourself.
Living a simpler lifestyle has given me the time and mental clarity to think about what matters most…and with that, I’ve been able to consider how to get closer to living my ideal life and carrying out my creative visions. I don’t know where I’d be without this lifestyle…for me, this was something that I desperately needed. For many, hygge and simple living is merely a trend. But for some, and for me, it is a lifestyle.