One thing I really like to do is read about how other people in other countries in the world live their lives.
For instance, in Denmark, they regularly practice a custom they call hygge (hoo-gah). If you are wondering what this is, it simply means ‘getting cosy’. Essentially hygge is about creating a sensory pleasing space in our homes that help us relax. The Danes make a daily decision to look after themselves, de-stress, and get comfortable or cosy. Imagine coming home after a day at work, putting on something a little more comfortable, flicking on some music, lighting a candle, pouring a glass of wine, making a simple dinner, and getting cosy under your blanket with a good book. Hygge (hoo-gah) is about being present in time, enjoying the moment, so to speak. Sounds nice doesn’t it?! (Sigh) I really need to do this more often. I want more hygge in my life!
Just when I thought hygge couldn’t get any better, I found out about another custom, ‘Lagom’, a custom the Swedes are well acquainted with. Lagom is similar to the concept of Hygge, but its more about creating a life of ‘being enough’ and or ‘having enough’. Life balance, life harmony, life beauty and life sufficiency. All of this is supposed to make you feel not only happier, but also healthier and more content within ourselves.
Lagom is about doing every area of our lives with a happy heart, and a great big dollop of moderation. It’s about eating well, exercising, quality time with friends and family, connecting with our creator, and doing things that are about living our best lives.
How do you do this though when you have so much on your plate????
I am learning that its all about being smart with our time, and chunking as many of the similar types of jobs together – wherever possible, AND learning to ask for help. One person is not supposed to carry the world upon their shoulders!
When I was pregnant with my kids I had this goal, by the time I had to go into the hospital to have the baby, I wanted to have my freezers filled with meals. I knew family and friends would cook for us every so often, but I wanted to have a period of time where I didn’t have to worry about making meals. So while I was pregnant, I cooked double batches of meals every single week. A couple of times a week. Every so often I needed to use one of these freezer meals as an emergency meal while I was pregnant, but if I was okay to cook, I would always cook double portions. Let me tell you, not having to think about what we ate each night after a long day of looking after little children was absolutely wonderful. After a couple of weeks of the initial crazy period of new baby in the house, ‘I am starting to feel a bit normal’ phase kicked in and I didn’t need to rely on the freezer stash as much, so whatever was left in the freezer was saved for those crazy evenings where it was impossible to put a decent dinner together.
These days I still do double meals and freeze, but I don’t have the huge stash of meals in the freezer. I have been thinking a lot over the last few days about wanting to grow my freezer meals again, because having a stash of meals in the freezer when the kids were small did work very well for me.
I know of a couple of mums who cook a months worth of meals the last weekend of every month. This saves them time, energy and probably a fair amount of money. I have been thinking about trying this, but I am unsure if I want to give up a whole weekend to make meal after meal. I think I will stick to doubling recipes when I cook! The process of filling the freezer is slower, but it still works and you don’t feel like your tied to the kitchen for a whole weekend.
The Kids are getting older and it is our responsibility to teach them to function in the real world. If they know how to turn on a computer, an iPad, or an iPhone, they know how to turn on a washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum, oven and iron. It isn’t rocket science to use any of these machines and as parents if we don’t teach our kids to do every day jobs around the house, they will not be able to do it when they grow up and move out. A little effort over a short period of time to teach a young person to use these machines properly will actually help you in the long run.
Parents who don’t expect their kids to do much around the house will pay for it down the track in one way or another. Recently I heard about a 35 year old man child who still lived in his parents home was refusing to move out!!! His parents took him to court because he wouldn’t get out. He claimed that he didn’t want to move out because it was comfortable at home! Thank God the judge ruled in favour of his parents. All I know is that my children will at some point move out, they will also pay a small percentage of their income for board from the time they get jobs. I want them to love and enjoy being at home, but also respect the privilege of being at home.
I often say to our kids that if we all give our best for 20 minutes – we will have knocked over the jobs. Six people times 20 minutes is 120 minutes. Imagine getting all your jobs done in 20 minutes? And remember, the more they do it, the better they get at doing the jobs. I always do an inspection of everyone’s jobs, if the job is done well they get to have some free time, but if not they get to do the job again. I don’t expect perfect, but I do want them to do the best they can do.
For so long I have been talking about wanting a simpler life. Wanting more time to not only do things that I am personally interested in, but living life in such a way that it resembles or mirrors the life I want to live. None of us want to go through life feeling the stresses of life. We want to bounce out of bed feeling good about life and the more I read about Hygge and Lagom, the more I understand how they will benefit us all. Whether you have small children, adolescents or young adults in your home, we were created to nurture them, not do everything for them. Everyone deserves a well lived life. I don’t like feeling overworked, anxious, or overwhelmed by the busyness or chaos of life, and we don’t have to feel this way. Taking on the principles of hygge and Lagom in our everyday lives means that we can deal with the life issues that surprise us from time to time without feeling as though we are always in this constant state of flux.
We are responsible for the life we lead. Life issues will come against us from time to time, but when we are living our best life, we are approaching our day from a place of peace and joy. We need to lead rather than be lead. We are our best selves when we have had time to self care. Using Hygge (hoo-gah) and Lagom principles will help us to self care for ourselves, which will in turn help us love others more effectively. We can’t pour from an empty cup.