Monthly Archives: December 2016

4 ways to practice hygge

Create a cozy atmosphere

“Danes are obsessed with interior design because our homes are our hygge headquarters,” says Wiking. The one thing every hygge home needs? A “hyggekrog,” or a cozy nook where you might enjoy your coffee and newspaper. You can also bring hygge to your space through candlelight, nature, and rich textures. “Danes feel the need to bring the entire forest inside—leaves, nuts, twigs, animal skins,” says Wiking. “Letting your fingers run across a wooden table or a warm ceramic cup is a distinctly different feeling from being in contact with something made from steel, glass or plastic.” In other words, log cabin chic has hygge written all over it.

Stock a self-care emergency kit

Instead of coming home after a particularly rough day and veging out in front of Netflix, try a self-care ritual that increases the R&R you get from your downtime. Wiking recommends creating a kit that contains comfort things like candles, quality chocolate, herbal tea, a soft blanket, warm wool socks, a page-turner, or a notebook and pen, or a photo album. All of these things allow you to wind down in a more mindful way.

Start a new tradition with people you love

Togetherness is a big part of the hygge concept. To facilitate more time with friends and family, create a new tradition that involves a hygge activity (that is, one that encourages everyone to connect and feel comfortable). That could mean organizing a game night, renting a cabin, going apple-picking, or taking a ski trip. “Any meaningful activity that unites the group will knit everyone more tightly together over the years,” says Wiking. “Hygge is making the most of the moment, but it’s also a way of planning for and preserving happiness. Danes plan for hygge times and reminisce about them afterwards.”

ways to take control of your chronic illness

Over 133 million people in America have at least one chronic illness. And that’s not counting the many people, especially young people, who suffer from undiagnosed conditions. Feeling sick or taking heavy-duty medication has become the new normal.

That was my situation. Starting in my mid-teens I started having debilitating back pain. My body, once very active, felt like it was failing me. There was no diagnosis and no one could tell me the root cause of the pain, so I was prescribed painkillers and muscle relaxers to ease my suffering. I endured two “perfect storms” of illness that progressed into my twenties. It earned me the label “the sick chick”… and the pain, shame, fear, isolation, and frustration that came with it. While on vacation seven years ago, I got a parasite infection (along with having undiagnosed celiac disease and a thyroid condition) and had a total system shut down. I gained 30 pounds in 30 days, couldn’t go to the bathroom or keep any solid food down, came home, and wound up in the hospital and in my childhood bed for over a month.

Up until this point I had always allowed others to make all of my health decisions for me, and looked to others for all of the answers, but now I knew I had to get in the driver’s seat and get myself well or I would never live the kind of life I wanted.

I did a lot of research, started to really think outside the box, found a team of specialists who best supported me, and started a journey of healing. One of the most important things I realized was that while traditional medicine is so important, it’s only part of the equation. I have radically improved my health and it has completely changed my life. I became a health coach – a bridge between a doctor and patient – and wrote a book to give others who are dealing with chronic conditions the insight I learned and the amazing advice I received from some of the top doctors and specialists in the country.

1. Be Your Own Best Advocate.

No one knows your body better than you do. You must become an educated health consumer. Find out as much as you can about your condition. Don’t be intimidated and don’t stop asking thoughtful questions.

2. Set Up Your “A” Team

Just because some doctors might be the “best,” they may not be the best for you. Start to ask yourself what you need in a partner who can help you get and stay well. Partnership is a key to healing, and you want to find someone who can handle the complexity of chronic health conditions and understands that medicine isn’t the only thing that will get you on the road to health.

3. Self-Care is Health Care.

Setting up personal self-care rituals are the bedrock of your well-being. They help to keep you centered, calm and in a healthy routine. A few examples of these rituals could be meditation, a hot bath at the end of a long day, and journaling in the morning to set your mind right.

4. Food is Medicine.

Food has the ability to change your body and the way you feel. When you fuel your system properly, it alters your health on a cellular level. Fill your grocery cart with organic dark leafy greens, fresh fruit, clean proteins, and healthy fats. Fresh is best.