I recently watched the snow fall and settle, completely transforming the streets from their usual dull greys to a beautiful sparkling white. As more and more snow arrived, disrupting journeys and changing plans, I became more eager to return home and enjoy that sense of Hygge with family and friends. It struck me that almost all humans were feeling the same instinct and that snow days are times we should cherish together, in unity.
Meeting Basic Needs
The UK is famous for panic-buying bread, milk and other essentials during the threat of bad weather conditions, which I think demonstrates how people change their focus from managing more complex social concerns, to ensuring their basic survival needs are met.
The sense of satisfaction, security and perhaps, Hygge, that one gets returning home with a bag of shopping during a snowstorm is surely unrivalled.
It brings to mind a well known theory: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; in which the American Psychologist explores “Human Motivation”, putting physiological needs (food, water, shelter) at the start of the pyramid, before one is motivated by other drivers.
Helping those Less Able
Bringing the group consciousness back to these basic needs seems to create an environment where strangers help each other more.
Neighbours may check on those elderly and less able, or strangers stop to help a car that has become stuck.
A snow storm can be a brilliant leveler that makes us look at what is going on around us. We can find the sense of Hygge by working together to make a difference to someone else’s day.
Fun, Play & Memories
When we’re confident that those around us are safe and secure, we can enjoy making memories in and out of the snow.
In most parts of Britain, large amounts of snowfall are relatively rare, so the novelty raises excitement and create memories that last forever.
Many people will venture out to build a snowman or sledge down a hill, preparing first with woollen knitwear or waterproofs, and finding appropriate footwear, if you have any! But the experience doesn’t end when you return home, as the sense of changing in to dry clothes, warming up by a fire or radiator and enjoying some hot food can all evoke a sense of Hygge.
Those who choose to stay in doors and observe the scenery in the warm can feel an equal sense of Hygge as they appreciate the basics of food, water and shelters; and have a rare opportunity to enjoy some “mind-space” away from the pressures of the modern world.
So whatever you do during a snowstorm, take care and make the most of it!