Sometimes when the “big things” don’t seem to be turning out exactly as you’d like them to, it’s time to focus on our appreciation of what seem like the “little things” in life that give us sustenance. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far to find a few things for which we are very grateful indeed – providing plenty of that positive gratitude energy that fuels our forward momentum.
For starters, in the middle of winter, it’s easy for those of us blessed with a secure roof over our heads to realize just how much of a gift that is. So I thought today I would focus and expand on the notion of home and hearth, and the delicious coziness of being home with loved ones when mother nature has brought a hard freeze to everything outside.
I mean, who doesn’t love to be cozy? It’s something we first learned as infants, swaddled in baby blankets in the arms of caring adults. While we can mentally re-create feeling cozy even when we’re not physically relaxed and cuddling by a fire, it’s great to learn how to magnify that feeling of a safe, warm haven so it helps us overcome stress, sadness and uncertainty about the future.
That’s because “cozy” is more than just a state of mind. It’s a warm, safe feeling that dates back to the time of the cave dwellers, when families would be in their caves, huddled around their fires and feeling safe from the elements and outside dangers.
Even today, that feeling is so sought after it’s used to create a feeling of desire in commercials for everything from pharmaceuticals to automobiles! So this winter, take charge of your very human desire to feel cozy, by creating circumstances that infuse you and your loved ones with feelings of warmth, safety, comfort and tranquility.
My Top 5 Ways to Cozy Up and create warm feelings when there’s a chill in the air are:
- Lightly scented candles. Our sense of smell is the strongest sense when it comes to connecting to memories. Find a scent that brings to you a feeling of warmth, home and hearth. Light them as the sun starts to go down to create the atmosphere that brings that feeling home. If you live with other family members, let them have some choices, too so that you can take turns whose scent gets used.
- Have plenty of cozy, soft sofa throws handy, so when you sit on the couch or lounge on the floor you have something soft to wrap yourself up in. This really triggers that wonderful swaddled feeling of total surrender. Keeping the thermostat lower to encourage maximum snuggling (and save money on heating bills, too!).
- Keep games on hand that the family can play together. This not only creates a warm, cozy feeling, but also a relaxed atmosphere that encourages family communication and facilitates the deepening of relationships. We enhance self-esteem – ours and theirs! – when we let the people we love know that we enjoy spending time with them.
- Cooking or baking infuses a home with aromas that penetrate every corner to enhance that “yummy” cozy feeling. The activity itself can be shared, so family members of all ages can participate together in contributing good food for the table, and good memories-in-the-making for the spirit.
- Have a “camp in” in your living room! Give everyone sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and jammies for a spontaneous “camp in.” Break out the most forbidden snacks and start everyone off telling stories of childhood adventures by candlelight – or by the light of the fire, if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace! Use lanterns, pack a picnic basket – whatever conjures up fun, adventure and childlike glee.
What does your family do to “bring the cozy” on winter nights at your house? Whatever it is, focusing on family relationships, communication and fun brings out the best in all of us, and enhances that super-cozy feeling of being “home where the heart is.”
Send me an email describing how you’ve created more cozy in your life so far this winter! And let me know if I should enjoy it all to myself, or if I can share it on the blog so others can enjoy it too – and maybe steal the ideas for themselves 🙂