“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
When I think of fall, I can almost feel the summer heat fade as the shadows grow longer, the air gets crisper and the leaves turn a brilliant array of red, orange, green and gold. Friends bundle up in ankle boots and plaid scarves and sip pumpkin spice lattes to warm them from the cooler weather. As a Florida native, some of these images are wishful thinking as it tends to stay fairly hot and humid here even through the autumn months. But fall is a feeling as much as it’s a season — a time to cook and rest more, rush and worry less and renew our spirits with the sense of warmth and coziness that autumn brings. No matter what kind of natural climate you live in, you can feel like fall all season by using some simple “hygge” ideas that appeal to all the senses. You’ll find yourself feeling comfortable and cozy in no time.
High Time for Hygge
Pronounced “hoo-gah,” hygge is a philosophy that originates in Scandinavia and has grown in popularity in recent years by giving us sensory ideas to create a comfortable atmosphere. There is no direct translation, maybe because it’s more about evoking positive feelings rather than anything too concrete. In Scandinavian countries like Denmark, people must adapt to find contentment indoors since it’s cold and dark for much of the year.
The Comforter Above All
Hygge both seeks and describes these feelings of contentment, coziness, conviviality and general sense of well-being. It’s achieved through enjoying the simple things in life and creating a warm, inviting, comfortable atmosphere. It doesn’t matter whether it’s warm or cold outside — what matters is what’s happening on the inside, which is good reminder that as the seasons shift and change, God and His character never change. He is our rock and ultimate source of comfort. “He changes times and seasons” (Daniel 2:21) and provides us with endless sources of peace, comfort and contentment we can enjoy through nature and the miracle of our senses. Let’s explore some of His many gifts we can experience this fall with “hygge” as our jump-off point for ideas.
Fall conjures up images of deep, dark colors that soothe the soul along with images of nature. Decorate your home or office with pops of orange, yellow, red and brown. Create an indoor harvest with a cornucopia of pumpkins, apples, gourds and squashes. Bring nature indoors by making your own wreath and filling vases or baskets with pinecones, leaves and twigs — anything to remind you of your outdoor adventures.
If the weather is conducive, get outdoors to enjoy all the sights of autumn. Visit a pumpkin patch or go on a hayride. If you live in the right area or wish to travel, try to get a glimpse of the fall foliage as the leaves change colors — creating a glorious display that only God can accomplish. It will be sure to lift your spirits.
Have you ever noticed how you can hear sounds more clearly starting in the fall? The air gets thinner and carries a cat’s meow, the rustling leaves of a cool breeze and children’s joyful laughter from afar more easily. Throw open your windows and let the echoes of autumn lull you into a restful mode of relaxation.
Set a convivial tone indoors by putting on your favorite records or take your guitar outside to play in the nicer weather. Create a “fall song playlist.” Choose classical music such as “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or favorite fall hymns to give thanks for this season of abundance. You can even bring the sounds of nature indoors with natural sound apps that will make you feel like you’re sitting by a babbling brook as you watch the leaves in the forest turn from green to gold. These ideas will be sure to create an autumnal mood.
The smells that make me think “fall” are warming ones found in many autumn desserts, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. I also think of the outdoor scents like pine and the smell of fireplaces floating through the air on my walks. You can get these fragrances wafting through your home to create a cozy atmosphere naturally by baking with warming spices, putting out cinnamon brooms and lighting your own fireplace if you have one. You can also try aromatherapy with scented candles and potpourri. Diffuse essential oils with fall scents. You can try them on their own or create your own autumn blends. Your house will smell like your own pumpkin latte!
Try these essential oils for an autumn feel and read about some of their potential benefits. Place them in a diffuser and notice how much fresher you feel:
- Bergamot: Elevates mood and reduces stress
- Cardamom: Strengthening and fortifying
- Cedarwood: Encourages focus and balance
- Cinnamon: Calming and grounding
- Clove: Warming and antibacterial
- Fir: Cleansing and purifying
- Frankincense: Relaxing and peaceful
- Ginger: Warming and anti-inflammatory
- Orange: Relieves anxiety
- Rosemary: Stress reliever and mood enhancer
Many of the same warming spices for scent are used in fall cooking. What is Thanksgiving without a pumpkin or apple pie loaded with nutmeg and cinnamon? There’s something about these flavor combinations that bring comfort and remind us of our mothers, grandmothers and time spent with those we love. They warm us and evoke fond memories and associations in ways that can’t be described in words, but they are felt.
Spend a little time searching for autumn recipes for the holidays or just any day. Make something you haven’t tried before and make use of the fall harvest with healthy foods like pumpkins, apples, squashes, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Elevate a meal or two to new heights and serve it on special tableware with a fall theme. You can even go the extra mile and make homemade bread. Not only do you get the bonus of tasting and eating it when you’re done — it’s also very “hygge” to go through the motions of kneading it with your own hands and creating a work of art. Try it with your child, a friend or neighbor and share the culinary delight that you made — breaking bread together. You’ll need the basic ingredients: yeast, flour, water, oil and a little sugar. Other than that, a working oven and your own hands will be all that you need to create something wonderful and delicious to share.
As it gets cooler outside, fall is a great time to cozy up on the couch with a good book and a cup of chai tea. Enhance your experience of comfort with things that are pleasing to the touch and provide warmth from the inside out. Wear fuzzy socks or invest in a pair of nice slippers. Feel the warmth of the tea or coffee cup in your hands as you sip slowly, enjoying the experience of slowing down. Soft throws and plaid blankets will set the stage and make you want to stay snug a little longer.
Have you tried a weighted blanket? Autumn might be the perfect time to get one of these therapeutic wonders to carry you to a deeper sleep through the cooler months and beyond. They use deep touch pressure therapy so that when you cover up, you feel like you’re receiving a warm hug with its gentle weight. They are great for relieving anxiety, helping you sleep and keeping you comfortable.
Creating Goodness with Your Surroundings
CREATION Life recognizes that whatever surrounds us on the outside (our Environment) affects us on the inside. Surround yourself with the best sensory experiences that fall has to offer with a touch of hygge to positively impact your well-being and enhance your CREATION Life lifestyle — always remembering to give thanks to the One who makes it all possible and is our ultimate Comforter through every season of life: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4