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It's hygge season: How to embrace the Danish lifestyle of rest and coziness

Feet in red socks by the burning fireplace. Family relaxes by warm fire and warming up theirs feet in woollen socks. Cozy atmosphere. Winter and Christmas holidays concept.
Anastasiia Krivenok
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This story is adapted from Life Kit's weekly newsletter, which is sent out to your email inbox every Friday.Subscribe here.

For me, autumn is synonymous with hygge — the Danish concept often translated as a sort of coziness. The cooler weather makes me want to snuggle up with a good book or watch a movie marathon under a blanket on the couch. And the fall leaves beckon me to take a break, go outside — and relish in the crunchtastic joy of stepping on them.

But it can be hard to slow down in this fast-paced world of ours, says Tricia Hersey, author of the new book Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto. That's because our culture equates our value with our output. Too often, we only let ourselves rest in order to have the energy to work harder or make more profits later on, she argues — or after we've checked everything off of our to-do list and completely exhausted ourselves.

Rest, says Hersey, is a "divine human right" that shouldn't require explanation or justification. "Resting is generative. It's not frivolous and it's not a luxury. It's something that allows us to tap into our creativity and imagination and heal our bodies."

Stand up for yourself, she says, by simply taking the time to lay down.

Hersey is the founder of The Nap Ministry, a group that preaches the liberating power of leisure and relaxation and is known to her fans as the "nap bishop." Listen to the episode to learn more about her philosophy on rest and get tips on how to make more space for rest in your life. (Closing your eyes and kicking your feet up while you do it is strongly encouraged.)

There are so many other ways to embrace your right to rest, leisure and hygge this fall season, whether it's in kitchen, the living room or your favorite cozy nook in the house. Here's a roundup of Life Kit episodes to inspire you.

Create more free time

Cozy up with a good book. Do you have a bookshelf full of unread novels calling your name? Don't wait to start soaking up the joy of a good page-turner. To tap into the power and comfort of reading, listen to these episodes on how to get into a reading habit or start a reading ritual with your kids.

Take a break from the internet. Maybe you're on board with the idea of resting but your phone won't stop beeping and booping and you can't help your doom scrolling. This episode has practical tips on how to unglue yourself from your screens — from intentionally leaving your phone at home to pausing on checking your messages.

Find ease and comfort in the kitchen

Cut down your cooking and cleanup time. In this episode, food writer Melissa Clark explains how to prepare easy meals for the family with just one pan. This tactic, she says, can help reduce the time we spend cooking and cleaning — and leave us with more time for lounging.

Embrace the warmth of nostalgic meals. Recreating a beloved family dish can feed the soul as well as the stomach, especially if we invite our relatives to cook with us. This episode teaches you how to honor your memories and family stories through food.

Bake a cozy treat. Nothing says comfort like a warm dessert to wrap up a delicious meal, amirite? Listen to this episode on how to make better, prettier pies this season – be it with fancy designs or crisper, more colorful crusts – then grab a fork and a friend and savor every bite of your creation.

Make your home an oasis of calm

Don't let mess get in the way of rest. If you're someone who needs a clean house for a clear mind, this episode on creating a cleaning routine is a great place to start. It explains why you should dust before you mop and clean from top to bottom. For more tips, check out our guide on environmentally sustainable cleaning products andlearn how to organize your kitchen tools with Deb Perelman of the food blog Smitten Kitchen. I feel that squeaky-clean relaxation setting in already.

Engage in 'comfort decorating.' The places we spend the most time in have a huge impact on our mindset. "Comfort decorating," says environmental psychologist Sally Agustin, is the practice of de-stressing your spaces and making your home your sanctuary. In this episode of Life Kit, she explains how color can enhance the feel of a space (for example, blues create calm and greens elicit creativity) and the benefits of having houseplants.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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