Get some Hygge in your life!

My latest read has been “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking. He is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. What a great job!

Anyway, I’ve always thought that Hygge or ‘Hooga’ was just about having less clutter and stuff – which any of you who know me and have been to my house will agree – is not really me!

Us Betts ladies love nic-nacs, books, ceramics, plants, Christmas decorations, art and photos. We can’t help ourselves! So, when I started the book I wanted this concept of Hygge, to be more than about that.

I’ve not been disappointed! The book has some great ideas about Hygge being about an atmosphere and experience, and just being with the people we love.

“A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
(Page 6  – The Little book of Hygge)

I wanted to focus this blog on some chapters at the latter end of the book, that really got me thinking – about the dimensions of Hygge.

Whilst Hygge can be an intangible and abstract concept, this is the idea that we can also use all our senses to detect Hygge – our Happiness. Wiking introduces the idea that Hygge has a taste, a sound, a smell and a texture and that we should be able to see Hygge all around us and that this should make us happy.

So, I have thought about the things that give me a happy experience, feel at home, safe, loved ….. My Hyggelig things….

The taste of Hygge – “Is almost always familiar, sweet and comforting”

My Hygge food is a Croissant. They are warm, flakey, delicious. I like them with jam or lemoncurd. But also, my Granny used to love them and now I have them when I’m with family.

The sound of Hygge – “many sounds can be Hyggelige… Any sounds of a safe environment”

My Hygge sound in country music. I just love it. It calms me and I can’t help but sing along. Life seems better with a little Dolly.

The smell of Hygge – “something that provokes strong feelings of security and comfort”

My Hygge smell is incense. It reminds me of the German ‘smoking’ man mum and dad have, who comes out at Christmas and burns incense cones. It reminds me of family time at Christmas and lazy days together doing jigsaws and eating too much.

What does Hygge feel like? – “the rustic, organic surface of something imperfect or something that has or will be affected by age”

My ‘thing’ that I think feels Hygge is drinking from a hand made mug. Not mass produced, crafted by someone’s hands and fingers. Tea tastes better. I feel better. They make a living.

Seeing Hygge – “Hygge is very much about light. Too bright is not Hyggeligt. But Hygge is also very much about taking you time”

This one I think is the hardest. In my life everything happens quite fast and I’m usually multitasking. However, a few weeks ago I was at mum and dad’s and I woke up and looked out my old bedroom window. The sunrise was beautiful and then I saw a fox!…. Quietly running across the back field. I watched him until he disappeared into the undergrowth and watched the sun come up too. That was quite Hygge.

Finally, the sixth sense of Hygge:

Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence Hygge is an indicator that you trust the ones you are with and where you are. Hygge can be tasted, heard, smelled, touched and seen. But, most importantly, Hygge is felt.”

So, thankfully, to have some Hygge in my life I don’t have to throw out half my stuff!

I think Hygge is about being comfortable…with yourself, with your surroundings and with others.

Reminiscing, sharing, entertaining, having good relationships with family, friends, pets, spending time by yourself, lighting candles, dimming the lights, reading, laughing…. Eating croissants! They are all ways to increase your Hygge!

So let’s have more Hygge this Christmas everyone! Focus on the things that matter, make you happy and comfortable.

Xx

p.s. I won’t get to blog again until the New Year, so Merry Christmas one and all.

Advertisements

Turning Points

turning-point

As a Financial Planner I say to clients that I want to help guide them through the ‘turning points’ in their life, to help them plan with confidence.

These turning points happen to everyone. A major shift happens in life, maybe someone dies or becomes ill, you lose a job or you get a divorce. Or the event could be something positive like a new marriage, new baby, a mid-life career change, or moving into your dream house. Either way, it can change your perspective on life.

My job is to help people navigate life’s changes and provide the financial tools and resources to give those important choices clarity and direction. So that when it happens and you have those feelings of excitement, grief, or worry, that you are confident that you don’t have to be anxious about your finances. That’s the last thing you need to be fretting over.

It’s when you focus, plan and consider these turning points, that you see what’s really important in life.

These have been some of my turning points:

  1. Deciding to not pursue Ceramic Art as my career and do this instead!.
  2. When my Granny died, realising how much she enriched my life and how I would miss her, especially for the little things. She was the most loving and un-judgemental person I have known.
  3. My latest job change.
  4. Becoming Auntie Gretchen last week.

Jackson, the tiny one

Gretchen and Jackson

Jackson David Strong arrived last week. My first nephew and oh how beautiful he is… 6 tiny pounds of loveliness.

He is my sister and brother-in-law all rolled into one – and it’s wonderful to see them so happy. I could have held him all day and I certainly did not want to leave to come home.

Our family (the Betts-Strong clan) has grown and things will change.
It really is a turning point for us all and what a wonderful one.

I should add that his Grandad and I immediately talked about savings for him!!

I found this poem online and since it was #poetryweek when Jackson was born, it made sense to share it here.

A Baby Changes Things

A baby changes things;
They’ll never be the same;
Your life is filled with wonder,
Since your little miracle came.

There’s lots of things to do now,
But with the new tasks you face,
Your family gains more love,
And bonds time will never erase.

Source: http://www.poemsource.com/baby-poems.html

Autumn – the planning season

AutumnOnce I get over the initial shock of the darker mornings and nights, Autumn has always been my favorite season, as it leads up to my favorite time of year with family, Christmas. It also means the fabulous Strictly Come Dancing is back on the BBC!

It’s quite a symbolic time of year. It’s a season of transition and a hustle-bustle month, as preparations are made for the changing season.

We spend time in the garden tidying up ready for winter and getting things in order. We plant the seeds for next year’s plants and crops.

In autumn we celebrate Harvest and have done in Britain since pagan times. This reminds people of how much we have and those others who are less fortunate.

This is a time of taking stock of all the bounty and provision that we have been afforded and make plans for the next year.

In poetry Autumn has often been associated with melancholia. The fun and warmth of summer is gone, and the chill of winter is on it’s way. Skies turn grey, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally. It has been referred to as an unhealthy season.

So this is my plan for Autumn and as the nights draw in:

  • Try not to get the winter blues.
  • Work hard in my new job, but enjoy myself too.
  • Get organised for 2016. I have a Hen Do to organise for a friend, invites to help make (her wedding is in April and I am bridesmaid), a holiday to Berlin to book and then my brother’s wedding to be ready for (I need an Indian and British outfit). That sees me through until end of June/start of July.
  • Do more craft in the evenings, instead of moaning I am too tired.
  • Get organised ready for Christmas – as we will have with a new addition to our family and a different format to our Christmas Day.
  • Enjoy Strictly and think fondly of my Granny, who loved the program.

Strictly

Everything about life is a risk

There comes time in everyone’s life when we are faced with a choice that involves risk. Perhaps a change of career, moving home, starting a new relationship or having a child. Risk is by nature, scary. Uncertain. Unpredictable. Unchartered territory. I’ve been there recently.

We actually risk everything, every day of our lives without knowing it – there is no such thing as a ‘risk free’ environment. We spend our lives managing risk. There is always a chance that walking outside will kill us. There’s a chance that we’ll never make it to our destination, a chance we won’t get to see our loved ones again, a chance that tomorrow will never come. Life is all about risks – and we all take a different approach to it.

In the same way, there is no such thing as a risk free investment. Every type of investment involves risk, the important thing to assess is the type and degree of risk and the potential consequences, both good and bad, of taking it.

Even money deposited in a bank will be at risk, because in an inflationary environment, its future purchasing power is unlikely to be as good as it was when it was put there. The risk is that leaving money on deposit for long periods will cost you money when compared with other investments and is known as opportunity risk.

So, if you want your money to have the opportunity of working for you and potentially increasing its purchasing power, you have to accept different types of risk and some degree of volatility. The degree of risk that any one person needs, or wishes to take, depends entirely on their personal circumstances and outlook.

There is no magic formula for managing risk, but with careful preparation and forethought, you can minimise the risk and maximise the odds that you will succeed.

The life you live depends on the choices you make, the risks you take, and how lucky or unlucky you’ve been. #planitwell

This is from a book my Father brought for me a few weeks ago:

Be Curious.
Be spontaneous.
Be brave.
Take risks.
Go on adventures.
Forgot your inhibitions.
Believe in yourself.
Trust yourself.
Love yourself.
Remember it’s now or never.

Maths and me

Last week I was juggling new client meetings, my sister’s Baby Shower and preparing for a presentation I had to give on Tuesday in London. It was busy!

Within the presentation I had been asked to talk about my background in Financial Planning and how I got here. It made me really think about the great opportunities I’ve been given over the last 15 years, how important it is to grasp opportunities that present themselves to you and to make the most of them.

Looking back, I realise I was fortunate that someone took a chance on me (when I had no experience or relevant qualifications) and that equally, I had the sense and drive / determination to make the best of that opportunity.

It’s certainly not the career I ever thought I would have, or an industry that I was particularly interested in. Friends who knew me growing up still don’t really understand why I have chosen this as my career. Mainly because they associate Financial Planning with Maths – and that most certainly was not my strength at school, instead I loved anything arty (and still do).

The truth is, Financial Planning is less about maths and money, and more about people, listening, good communication skills, trust, empathy, organisation and commitment. I think most people who know me would agree  have these attributes.

The ability to speak to clients openly, honestly and with an enquiring mind and equally have the ability to listen… to problems, concerns, wishes and dreams. To then be able to understand what is important to them and what they wish to try to achieve throughout their life, so that I can help build a personalised Financial Plan to better their situation and ensure they remain on track.

Of course, we do speak about money and sometimes I have to use my calculator (although I still call my brother if complex algebra and formulas come up!).

It’s been a real trip down memory lane, remembering old colleagues and friends, the good, bad and the ugly. It’s also made me realise how much I love the job and profession.