That brings me to the reason I wanted to write this post in the first place. I like sharing the backstory for where my book ideas come from, to give you a little peek into my head. As you can guess, the idea for my newest book, Make Yourself Cozy, comes from my own life experience. If you’ve been following my work for a couple of years, you’ll probably know that I deal with anxiety on a daily basis and am a chronic overthinker (sometimes to a debilitating degree). My mind is my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time. When I was seeing a counselor a few years ago to do some cognitive behavioral therapy, I learned about the idea of self-care as a way of managing anxiety. The therapy was incredibly helpful, and I find myself using the ideas my counselor taught me very often. When I’m anxious or sad, I’ve always felt myself be drawn to things that are cozy to comfort me as I retreat inwards. I’ll want to sit in a ball in the softest blanket and put on a Harry Potter or Twilight movie to escape into, and maybe cook up a big bowl of hot soup. There’s something about slowing down and finding peace in the ordinary things around me that comforts me so much. Making myself cozy has always been a big part of my self-care, which is exactly where the idea for Make Yourself Cozy comes from.
It’s similar to and inspired by the Danish concept of “hygge” (apparently pronounced like “hoo-gah”) which is about seeking well-being through slowing down, being cozy, and finding joy in the simple moments of life. I experienced this first hand when I visited Norway around Christmastime a few years ago. While in Oslo, there were a couple of hours of daylight, but when we visited Tromsø which is above the arctic circle, the sun didn’t come above the horizon at all. For a couple of hours in the middle of the day, there was some dim light that made it look like it was dusk. Although it was cold and dark, Norway was one of the coziest, comfiest places I’ve ever visited. They handle dark winters perfectly. There were candles and cozy lighting everywhere, in homes and even in shops and restaurants. Also, have you ever experienced heated floors in the winter? Our hotel and Airbnb had them and it was so incredibly cozy. Someday I would love a house with that. One of my favorite memories of that trip is when one day while walking around Oslo, my friend and I stopped for lunch at a restaurant, where we were seated next to a cozy, warm fireplace. We sat there and relaxed by the fire, sharing delicious food and wine together, wearing comfy sweaters, chatting and not in a hurry to be anywhere else, our faces rosy from the outside winter air. So much hygge! Not only did I discover my love for all things Scandinavian on that trip, I also learned how to make winters here feel way less depressing and dark.