A little while ago I purchased a book from the little book store around the corner from uni. I was on lunch break and trying to do anything but sit in front of a computer. I had been at it since 8am and I felt as though my eyes were going to fall out. Staring at a computer for extended periods can do loads of damage, trust me I’d know.
Anyway, I bought the book and then went to eat my lunch in front of a church on a bench, and as I ate my packed lunch of canned tuna and roasted vegetables I started to flick through the delicate pages of my new book, ‘Hygge’.
Charlotte Abrahams, the author, talks about how the Danes are so good at making the most out of the simple pleasures in life. And it got me thinking, I’m pretty good at it too.
But to be honest, slowing down and making the most of the small day to day things in life didn’t come naturally to me. I used to find it so difficult to sit still reading for more than 10 minutes. I would start to fidget and feel guilty as there were ‘so many other things’ that I could have been doing. I found it hard to give myself the night off study to watch a movie in bed because the whole time I would be thinking about the assignment that was due in a week, or I would use the time to plan the yoga classes I would be going to in the next few days.
My mind was constantly going at super duper speed, and my sleep was affected as I couldn’t switch off. I was always trying to do everything perfectly, doing well at uni to please my tutors and going to 5 yoga classes a week to please my teachers. I would cook highly healthy meals to make sure I was getting my vegetables in as If I didn’t get my 7-8 veg in that day, I’d feel ‘unhealthy’ (of course it’s important to eat your greens but being obsessive is just exhausting). It was all very overwhelming and I wasn’t enjoying life at all, I was living in the future and dwelling on the past.
I can now say that I take care of myself, very well actually. I got over being ‘perfect’ and simply started to tune into what I truly wanted. I slowly started to take time, even full days, dedicated to doing the things that made me happy. When I had more funds, I was treating myself to weekly massages, solo lunches at my favourite cafes and buying a new pair of shoes. Lately however due to not having much money as my only form of income is teaching casual yoga, I’ve had to be careful with where I spend my cash.
With this being said my self-care and ‘Hygge living’ is still present every day.
Instead of getting up at 5am to make a 6am yoga class, I get up naturally without an alarm usually around 6-7am (Rather than leaving my phone in my room, I let it charge in the lounge room so I don’t reach for it first thing in the morning). I then tongue scrap, drink a glass of warm water, meditate, make my coffee and bring it back to bed so I can read a book for around 30 minutes. It feels very indulgent and ‘naughty’, and I love it. It allows me to welcome the day in a relaxing and effortless way without any stress on my body. And I honestly feel more awake after my morning reading rather then going to a yoga class where I’d still be half asleep, resting in child’s pose so I could have a 10 second nap. After my reading I waddle to the kitchen to cook a fatty breakfast to fuel me until lunch. Lately it’s been boiled or scrambled eggs with avocado, homemade nut and seed loaf or sourdough with butter. But let’s be honest my all time favourite breakfast is organic sourdough fruit toast topped with butter and avocado, seriously good.
I now choose to go to yoga either mid-morning or late afternoon. I find that my body is more awake when practicing at this time of the day, and I leave the class feeling energised and in a state of bliss instead of exhausted and sleepy. I’ll go to around 3 classes a week, that’s enough for me. I’ll also go on a walk every day to help clear me head and we’ve started aqua gym classes with mum (so cute) once per week. I’d also like to start swimming.
Having home days are also a way to make me slow down and feel grateful for the life I have. Being home all day allows me to take my time in the things that need to get done. Instead of rushing through assignments with cortisol running through my system, I now enjoy getting my work done as I’m relaxed which allows me to appreciate the journey my assignments take me on. It also gives me space to have several breaks where I can go on walks, chat to mum and read blogs.
Drinking a glass of red wine whilst chatting to Sarah, reading or watching an episode from a tv series are also simple pleasures of mine. I usually enjoy this before cooking dinner at my favourite time of the day, 5pm. There’s something about 5pm that makes me feel giddy. I probably drink one glass of wine per week on average. Probably due to my Italian background, red wine is one of my favourite things. The times I have spent in Milan drinking wine with my loved ones before a home cooked meal of local produce drowned in olive oil, fresh sourdough and incredible cheese (just yum) are my happiest memories that I’ll cherish forever. Italians are great at making the most of the simple things in life – family, food & love seem to be their priorities and it’s so wonderful to experience it and be involved in their love bubble.
Spending afternoons sitting in bed, planning my week, reading or planning a yoga class have also been wonderful, especially when it’s raining or chilly outside.
Strolling through IKEA with mum whilst sipping on a coffee and mentally designing my future house, along with mum giving me advice on the best nappy changing tables for my future children are also pure pleasures of mine. They always has been. Anything involving a house, babies, furniture, mugs, coffee and the comfort of my mum make me squirm. And all of those things happening together just blows my mind. I sometimes leave with some new coffee mugs, bed sheets, pillows, random boxes or nothing at all except post IKEA happiness.
Eating homemade cake, or high quality cake & pastries from a beautiful bakery or café are also incredibly healing and totally delicious. For example, last week mum made this hazelnut apple cake and we got to enjoy it with coffees after lunch. And the other day I was strolling through the city and picked up an almond croissant from Dukes and ate it whilst shopping for new jeans (still haven’t found a pair.. jeans are so hard to find!).
All these moments are precious and are what life is all about. Give your best friend a call whilst drinking a coffee, eat homemade cake, read in bed and give yourself a coconut oil body massage. And don’t forget to give daily cuddles to the people you love and make the most of the simple pleasures life has to offer.
If you’re interested in the book, click here.
Much love, Mel.