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This weekend was one of the quieter ones I’ve experienced. It’s been a journey into what I’ve yearned for this year, as a person, a parent and a woman. The joy of just being in the moment, present in the now, is a feeling that can’t adequately be put into words, but I’ll try.

A while ago, I stumbled across the Danish concept of Hygge. It’s pronounced ‘Hu-gah’ with a sort of relaxed roll of the Hu and a quiet emphasis on the gah. Without making a very complex case for it, I’ll just mention that it’s a way to connect with yourself and your loved ones. The Oxford Dictionary describes it thus.#Hygge is a concept we can all use: as #parents and people. Re-connect to find out the happiness that comes from just being in the moment.

How often do you experience the joy of just being in the moment? #Mindfulness #Hygge Click to Tweet

One of the most beautiful posts I read on the topic (and I have read many!) is this one by Susie Lindau: How to have a Hygge Life.Β As I reflected on this idea, it came to me that life has been one frenzied roller-coaster this year. From moving to a bigger home to tackling health challenges, to watching my daughter struggle with a higher grade’s demands and figuring out a rather daunting set of circumstances on my professional front, it’s been eventful.

Stress tends to creep up on you when you least expect it. One of the first visible signs of it was the tell-tale sprain in my neck and shoulders a while ago. I’d blogged about a severe version of it a few years ago so I was reasonably panicked to step back and take precautions this time.

Another sign was the breakout of acne on my face. Now, a lot of people may or may not know this, but I’ve enjoyed relatively clear skin all through my life. I escaped the whole teen phase of breakouts and pimples, without even knowing why or doing anything special to keep these things at bay. I still don’t have a beauty regimen. So while it could be hormonal( this sudden outbreak of craters on my face), I suspect it’s more to do with stress.

We all know what stress leads to: worry, lowered productivity, a reduced sense of self-worth. For a person who actually enjoys life, this wasn’t what I wanted, at all.

My life runs on schedules. Routines keep me calm. They maintain my sanity in a world that requires me to handle the following, in no particular order: writing, blogging, editing, cooking, walking & fitness, Gy’s school updates, her classes, social media for my work, social media for my personal blogs, laundry, more laundry, keeping the household relatively dust-free and staying in control.

Without a schedule, none of this would work. I did overdo everything a while ago andΒ  burnt myself out to the point of exhaustion. Lesson learnt, so no regrets, fortunately.

Even weekends were not really spared from my schedules. They were more relaxed than weekdays, but they still had an undercurrent of ‘get things done’. So, there was no time for Hygge. No time for me to unplug, unwind, re-connect with myself or my child or just live in the moment. Not unless I took a trip away from home for this express purpose.

Until this weekend.

And the way I made it happen was by not planning it.

Joy of just being. #Hygge is a concept we can all use: as #parents and people. Re-connect to find out the happiness that comes from just being in the moment.

I’d just read this beautiful article on Hygge and was nodding along to everything when I looked up and saw Gy in the kitchen, looking for biscuits. It was 7 pm on Saturday night and dinner was already cooked and set out. We had the luxury of relaxing.

I had a deadline for an article and an idea for my next blog post which I intended to write. In addition, I was checking my social media strategy for the month gone by and trying to figure out how to take things forward on a new project. And then, I paused. I looked at all of this on my laptop and then looked at my 11-year-old in the kitchen.

On impulse, I called out to her. ‘Do you want to watch a film?’ Her eyes lit up and she scampered over to where I was sitting with her eyes wide, asking, ‘Which one?’ Scrolling through Amazon prime, I came across Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, a ShahRukh-Khan starrer. I’d personally loved when I saw it many years ago.

The decision was made. Turning off the lights, cuddling up on the couch, we turned on the TV and watched the tale of a simple soul who tries to get his new wife to fall for him, while trying to be someone else. The story is poignant, hilarious, and deeply moving. That was 2.5 hours of just us and the movie. Phones and laptops were put away, schedules were forgotten (as was dinner!) and we fell into a deep, gorgeous space of togetherness.

Post the movie, we spoke about relationships, nuances of love and the meaning of some words that she didn’t understand. In this, I saw a side to my tween that gave me an important insight: she was growing up. With a lump in my throat, IΒ  hugged her closer, answering to the best of my ability the idea of unconditional love.

Through the film, she noticed how I either dabbed my eyes at an emotional scene or wiped away a stream of tears at another one. She reached out and held my hand, in a moment of quiet solidarity. That meant more than anything else that evening.

A single decision had stretched to 4 hours of almost complete connection to one another. It spilled into the next day with us playing the songs from the movie through the day, humming along.

I’m not an expert on Hygge. I am the last person to hold forth on how to build Hygge into your life. But, from what I can tell, any activity that makes you completely lose yourself in the moment, that allows you to soak in the company of a loved one, is as close to the joy of just being, as anything else. If that means you have to schedule down time into your day or week, do it. You owe it to yourself.

Make time for your loved ones. Social media, work, the internet, that urgent e-mail can all wait.

Live in the moment. Today, promise me and yourself that you will try.

*If you enjoyed this post and would like to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.Β 

*Featured image & pinnable image courtesy: Shutterstock

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


CookieCrumbsInc. · November 13, 2017 at 9:01 am

I struggle with this every single day. Mostly because the priority I assign to everything is: NEEDS to get done right this moment or the world will fall apart. I try to multitask myself into a frenzy and then take failure to do so really hard. I’m learning to be better but it’s an uphill battle, especially when the biggest distraction around exists: social media.

I’ll be Hygge-ing more. Definitely.

    Shailaja · November 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Multi tasking is a killer. It sucks the joy out of everything and leaves you burnt out. And ahem, social media. I hear you. It’s a tough place. But I know you can Hygge if you put your mind to it πŸ™‚

Nabanita Dhar · November 13, 2017 at 9:14 am

It happens. I have experienced it. When you least expect and when you don’t plan, you are in the moment and end up having fun. Happy that you had such a weekend, Shailaja. God knows we need this more and more in the lives we lead πŸ™‚

    Shailaja · November 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you, Nabanita. We do need this. There’s too much noise in the world. We can use the down time. Truly.

Rachna Parmar · November 13, 2017 at 11:06 am

A new word learned there. πŸ™‚ I am so happy you experienced this. Nothing like pure, impromptu joy in doing the simplest of things that lead to something so meaningful and enriching. Last Friday, the husband and I decided to go on a lunch date. It was after a long time that we did that. I had so much work still left but I went. And it was so much fun. Just sitting, chatting and laughing with our phones left to the side. I really enjoyed the time. There is so much joy of living in the moment especially when we plan our lives to death. And you are right, stress manifests itself in all kinds of ways. Scary, isn’t it? I feel a slow pain at the back of my neck when I am tensed. I have started noticing it, of late.

    Shailaja · November 13, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I saw that post on Instagram, the lunch date at TGIF πŸ™‚ So delightful when we can take time off and do what we want, isn’t it?

    Stress has been terrible these last 2 months and looks like it will continue for a while longer. It’s up to me to make sure I don’t fall prey to it and keep my balance. Here’s hoping and wishing you the same too, Rachna!

Shilpa Gupte · November 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

I experienced such a moment last evening. I actually wanted to go out but hubby was feeling a bit too lazy to accompany me. So, I decided to stay at home. I baked a cake, watched a movie alongside and then decided to go have a walk. But, then my eyes fell on Cookie who was sitting quietly beside her cage. I didn’t have the heart to leave her alone. So, I prompted her to climb onto my shoulder. Then, I put on YouTube and entered the song from Titanic, and began singing along with Celine Dion. Cookie loves listening to songs, she chirps along with me when I hum. And, last evening, for about half an hour, I played some songs over and over again, singing along at the top of my lungs accompanied by Cookie and had the time of my life! The exhilarating feeling I got out of being there in that moment with that tiny soul chirping into my ears …priceless! Bird and human bonded big time in those 30 minutes!

    Shailaja · November 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Such a lovely description of the perfect Hygge evening, sweetheart! I can just picture the two of you having such a cosy, happy time together, throwing all cares to the winds. This image made my day πŸ™‚

Soumya · November 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Such a beautiful word, isn’t it? I’ve been battling stress and anxiety issues for quite a while now and slowing down the last few months has helped me a lot. The joy of just being is something I recently discovered and I’m not letting go of it anytime soon. My life used to run on planning and routines too, but now I’ve tossed it all up. It is a chaos but still organized at some level. That is enough to give me some sanity and that’s all I need at the present.

    Shailaja · November 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I love the sound of the word πŸ™‚ I know, it’s been a rough year for you too, hasn’t it? Sigh. Organized chaos sounds good, to be honest. I doubt I can completely let go to that extent but I can certainly relax to some level. Here’s hoping.

Reema D'souza · November 13, 2017 at 10:16 pm

This is so true! Living in the moment is the best thing to do especially from all the gadgets that keep us occupied all the time. You spent a lovely weekend, may you have many such wonderful days!

    Shailaja · November 14, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Thank you, Reema πŸ™‚ It gets more important as we grow older, to slow down and take stock of how our lives are playing out πŸ™‚

JayanthyGovindarajan (@JayanthyG) · November 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

This is a nice word like my ever favorite Hakuna Matata! I like schedules and used to follow them. When I don’t complete some of it, I used to feel incompetent! And especially when the schedule is on and even when my sister calls me to go out on an unplanned evening, I would be like “Not coming”. And I used to regret not spending time with her as well as not completing the tasks in hand. I used to feel very low. Slowly, but gradually I wrote some tasks, but never did them on purpose to get rid of the feeling. Now, what I write down are the tasks I complete and plan on which one I want to do next. I am not on a tight work schedule so that gives me that little peace and I am learning to enjoy the moments at home. I used to complain earlier for leaving my job, but now I see the difference. Most unplanned moments have been the best so far and noteworthy. Nice post Shailaja. I am learning parenting and this would definitely help. I felt those cute moments you spent with your daughter. It is so heartwarming to think back to the times I spent and also missed spending with my mom and sis. Spending time with girls is so good.

Vidya Sury · November 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

Full serendipity that I am about to hit publish on how to find family time. And that I’ve got a Hygge post in my drafts. And like you, I found myself agreeing with what you said in *your* post. Stress can cause so many health issues-both mental and physical-that it is not at all amusing. The day I paused to take stock, I minimized all those things that sucked at my time and stressed me out. As you know, peace now reigns in my life. πŸ™‚ Hugs! Impromptu movies are the bestest things!

Obsessivemom · November 17, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Oh I love the idea of a slow easy day where we flout all the rules of routine. We wait for long weekends to do something like this. Somedays we drag our mattresses down and have impromptu ‘sleepovers’ just for fun.
Isn’t it wonderful that the kids are growing up and can share the emotions we feel? I think that’s the best bit about them turning tweens. Hygge is such a lovely word – it even sounds like a warm hug.
PS: You chose SRK :-).

Narmada · March 29, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Such a beautiful concept this…will definitely try to incorporate in my current almost insane days (and nights). With an 8 year old who seeks my attention and a 2 year old who just won’t let me do it, I need a concept like this to regain my sanity! Thank you for writing this! And you are right…we need to do more of these things you did with your daughter to keep us calm and sane …and our loved ones happy!

    Shailaja · March 30, 2018 at 9:58 am

    It can be overwhelming managing two kids and all their demands. You’re most welcome and I hope you find the time to Hygge πŸ™‚

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