Surviving CF With "Hygge"
Last updated: December 2022
“Hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga) is a popular Danish lifestyle that emphasizes creating a cozy and comforting environment to induce peace and happiness. Hygge is all about creating and savoring simple joys in our everyday life.1 In fact, the word “Hygge” means “to comfort” or “to console” which the modern English word “hug” comes from.2 Think cozy blankets, hot drinks, soft lighting, candles and books, and warm gatherings with intimate friends and family, etc.
Although Hygge is a widely unknown concept, many people naturally gravitate towards it especially in the colder and more solitary months such as fall and winter. When you curl up in a blanket and grab a cup of steaming hot tea and find joy in that activity, you are practicing Hygge.
For a long time now, although I didn't have a name to put to my practice, I was using Hygge as a means to cope in my daily life with CF and turn something mundane and annoying into a safe and cozy time for myself.
What kind of Hygge activities do I do? What kinds of benefits do I see? Furthermore, is there a place for the practice of hygge in the wider CF community?
Hygge CF habits
I have always been someone who is religiously compliant when it comes to airway clearance and making sure It’s part of my daily routine. I knew that in order to do treatments for the rest of my life, multiple times a day, I had to turn my treatment time into something I enjoyed, felt relaxed doing, or even looked forward to. How else would you survive the mundanity?
Cozy treatment time
For years now, I decided to do my treatments in the comfort of my bed, with blankets, a heated mattress pad, coffee or tea depending what time of day it is, and the dedicated time to read, watch TV, or do other activities I don’t have time to do during the busy day. Treatment time is my time. It’s very Hygge-esque and inviting. It’s evolved into a time that gives back to me mentally and physically, evolving how I choose to see this necessary part of my routine.
In our household, there’s a space we affectionately call “The Nest'' when I am sick or receiving home IV antibiotics. (This was especially true before I had children and could rest on IVs versus sucking it up and continuing on like a lot of moms do.) “The Nest” is a cozy spot set up in our house–either my bed or couch–that has everything I need to fight a lung infection: pillows, blankets, access to treatments and medications, snacks, water, i.e. If I didn’t need to leave this spot, I would be happy for quite some time. my nest has helped me survive the brutal weeks of home IVs many times over.
From necessity to enjoyment
Personally, practicing Hygge in my daily CF is all about changing the perspective of something I need to do, to something that I can find joy in doing. It’s comforting to me that I can savor what is good about sitting down and doing treatments instead of thinking about all I sacrifice day in and day out to care for myself. Sometimes, it’s not easy, but I am thankful for getting to this place as an adult with CF.
Hygge’s place in the CF community
In my CF clinic, Hygge is not something that’s ever been discussed with me in terms of coping with CF. I am not sure if anyone is aware of what Hygge is and I wouldn’t blame them. However, I think there’s a place for Hygge education for people living with CF. While Hygge might not be beneficial for everyone with CF, it could benefit people looking to find comfort and joy in the routines of CF.
Hygge is a free, quick, and easy means of practicing different methods of coping. It doesn’t take unreasonable amounts of time or resources, and many people may already practice Hygge without even realizing it. In the future, I hope the practice of Hygge can be used as way to help people with CF find harmony in their lives.
Do you know what Hygge is? Have you ever practiced it or used other ways of coping? Share with us below!
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