by Melissa Alvarez
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Living a cozy life means different things to different people. Around the world, there are many different ways people embrace cozy living. The Danish practice Hygge, which is finding pleasure in the simple things and making the ordinary extraordinary by being present in the moment. In Sweden, they practice Fika, which is the Swedish coffee break, when they relax with friends, and have snacks and drinks and good conversation; Mys, which happens on Friday nights with lots of junk food and a movie; and Lagom, which means, "not too little, not too much, just right" and is a way to apply moderation in everything they do. The Japanese practice Shinrin-yoku, also called forest bathing, which is spending time in nature to reduce stress levels and for healing, and Wabi-sabi, which is appreciating the beauty in imperfections of age and wear. These are but a few of the ways people celebrate coziness that I discuss in my new book, The Simplicity of Cozy.
Cozy living is about creating an atmosphere of warmth, contentment, and pleasure within your home and in your life. It is increasing your awareness of and focusing on embracing the simple, everyday moments to rise above problems, release stress, enjoy friends and family, and to appreciate all you experience. Take a minute to think about what cozy living means to you. To me, cozy living can bring about wondrous transformations through a shift in your energy to make personal frequency connections in all areas of life that will enhance your spiritual growth and bring about more joy and happiness. Let's look at five areas you can work with to help you live a cozier life.
- Reduce Clutter. It accumulates when you're not even looking. One day you just notice that cabinets are overflowing, paper has stacked up, or your closet is packed to the rim. Clutter happens to everyone, whether it's in small or large amounts. It's difficult to practice coziness when there's stuff sitting everywhere that blocks the flow of energy in your home or workspace. When you notice the clutter, taking the time to clear it out will help you feel more cozy and warm. Clutter tends to make the energy around you feel scattered, frenzied, and even overwhelming. This also applies to emotional clutter. If your mind is constantly spinning with your to-do list or rehashing experiences you've had and never settling into a quiet, peaceful, relaxing place, then it's time to sort through those thoughts and emotions. Instead of keeping a running list of what you have to do in your mind, write it down. Accepting your experiences, instead of thinking about what you could have done to obtain a different outcome, allows you to let go of the constant rethinking.
- Leave Technology Behind. I know leaving technology behind for even a little while is hard because we live in a world where our computers, tablets, and cell phones seem to be a new appendage. If you give yourself a week without technology, you'll discover that you'll have more face-to-face interactions with people and you'll find fun things to do that make you feel good about yourself because you're no longer distracted by the technology around you. If you can't do it for a week, just try it for a day and see what you can discover about yourself.
- Release What No Longer Serves You. At least once a year I take the time to look at the things taking up my time and decide if they're serving my life purpose or if I'm just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere with them. Letting go of the things that aren't working anymore helps you bring more coziness into your life. We only have a limited amount of space and time, and if it's full, it blocks the way for new opportunities and people to come to you. Examining how you spend your time and who you spend it with will enable you to decide what is working, and you want to continue, and what isn't, that you need to release. If something or someone has you upset, or keeps you in a state of unrest, then think about what would happen if you weren't involved with that situation or person. Can you let it go? Would you feel better, happier, and more joyful without it? If so, releasing it will bring more coziness to you. Let go of anything that is no longer serving your greater purpose and then embrace the new things that come your way.
- Have Meaningful Relationships. Having a meaningful relationship with someone is when you're aware of their feelings, accept them as they are, including their flaws, and have engaging, positive interactions with them. A meaningful relationship is authentic, committed, and filled with trust. It is being present and active in the relationship, being patient, being honest, and letting the other person know that they are important in your life. When we have meaningful relationships, it adds to the layers of coziness we feel because it gives us a better understanding of one another. It means not taking someone for granted or putting our needs above theirs; instead it is a balanced, caring relationship where each person can be their true authentic selves. Letting someone know they matter to you, that they are important, and there is mutual trust and respect between you, is the basis of having meaningful relationships, which will enhance cozy feelings within you.
- Spend Time in Nature. One of the easiest ways to bring more coziness into your life is to spend time in the natural world. Nature is beautiful, peaceful, powerful, and sacred. When we spend time outside, it livens our soul because we feel the deep connection to the Earth and Universal consciousness. There's nothing quite as empowering and refreshing as taking a walk in a forest, standing on the beach with the wind in your hair and the waves at your feet, or hiking up a mountain to make you feel relaxed, revitalized, and cozy within your own spiritual being. You will find your thought processes become clearer, stress falls away, and you're able to establish a bond with the world around you. Without even realizing its happening, you’ll find your thoughts create solutions to problems you may be facing or you'll come up with new creative ideas that you can implement, or you'll develop a deeper understanding of your own spiritual nature. All of these things are part of cozy living and will help you maintain these feelings when you're back at home and functioning in your daily routine. It's an active choice that you can make for yourself to be more comfortable, happy, and at peace with your life and your spirituality.
Finding the simple ways to settle within yourself and develop a deeper appreciation for all of your experiences and the people who share them with you is what cozy living is all about. It's a warm, peaceful, and content feeling deep within your soul. It's recognizing your own spirituality and the spirituality of others, and our profound connection to the Divine. Living a cozy life will enlighten you, increase your awareness of all that you experience while keeping you balanced and filled with love, joy and happiness. Connecting with the simplicity of cozy is a gift you give to yourself.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018. All rights reserved.