How hygge helps you to connect with nature.
* How hygge helps you to connect with nature.
* Tips on how to channel hygge in your garden.
* How Sandwell Valley’s Christmas Fair can help boost your hygge moments.
The RSPB Midlands is encouraging people to cosy up to nature this winter by following the principles of the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced 'hoo-ger'). Long associated with finding comfort indoors, wrapping up in blankets and lighting candles, there is another side to hygge as explained by Becky Rasmussen.
Rasmussen is an English teacher with the International School in Aarhus, Denmark, and is a champion for the nature side of hygge.
“Hygge is spending cosy and quality time with your loved ones and doing the things that you love,” she said from her home in Denmark’s second largest city.
“Nature is very much a part of it, so hygge can be a walk outside in the cold, in a forest, being at one with nature, and then coming home, lighting candles and generally enjoying the peace and calm that your encounter with nature has given you. It's getting that cosy feeling of coming in from the cold.
“Hygge is about that golden time as the sun sets or the sun rises as we all know we don't get that much sunlight in the winter .”
As the light fades in our own country, getting outside is a great way to make the most of daylight hours. This could be by visiting a reserve, a local forest or helping to give nature a home in your own garden.
RSPB project manager and garden expert Adrian Thomas has great tips for ways to spend time in the garden, taking care of nature and preparing for next year.
“Getting out there on a crisp day, doing a bit of digging, watching the sunset, and coming in to toast your toes, your cheeks all flushed pink - that's hygge to me,” said Adrian .
“In terms of what to do now to make your garden ready for the New Year, there are some things that I think are essential such as tree planting. That can sound a scarily big thing to do, but right now you can buy young trees bare-rooted for only a few pounds - so cheap, easy to plant and will last a lifetime.
“Now is also the time to not do certain things, such as leaving seed heads of this year's flowers standing, they look great with frost on them and it ensures there are natural seeds for the birds and places for hibernating ladybirds to hide. And leave hedges untrimmed for another few weeks so birds can have the cover and the berries and moth eggs to eat.”
Adrian also advises potting up herbs and plants indoors, ready to be planted in the spring, so that one can bring the smells and colour of nature into the home. A great example is sweet peas: when planted out up canes in spring, not only will they be pretty to look at but they can actually help to create a natural screen for a vegetable patch or an area of the garden for private meditation.
This is also a crucial time for feeding birds, and also for creating homes for insects to get all hygge in, which will also offer a source of food for the garden’s ecosystems. A good compost heap, or bug hotel, will help to provide a warm spot for insects to bury into.
To get hygge with the RSPB in the Midlands one can visit the organisation’s nature reserves, including Sandwell Valley, Middleton Lakes, Coombes Valley or Langford Lowfields. The RSPB online shop also stocks products that can help with that hygge feeling such as bird feed, candles, a selection of wildlife-friendly seeds, and aromatherapy oils.
And on Sunday 3 December one can bring all of this together at the RSPB Sandwell Valley Christmas Fair, where there will be a dedicated RSPB stall, alongside wellness brand Weleda and the opportunity to get involved in lantern making.