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.

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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

Wellbeing, Lists and Financial Planning

This week I had dinner with a good friend and we talked about our week, work, life etc. She told me that she was feeling very stressed and like everything was a little out of control.

She’s working 10 hour days, learning a language one night a week, has some family stuff going on, is trying to eat well and still trying to exercise 3 times a week. The peak came last week when she had a melt down over finding time to buy a friend’s birthday gift, a task which normally she would relish and enjoy, but that was just too much on top of everything else. Sounds daft, but the small things to do on top of the big worries just sometimes get too much. I think everyone feels like this sometimes and I know I’ve been at this stage at some points in the last 18 months. You eventually realise that something HAS to change.

What is the point of running yourself ragged to get to the gym 3 times a week, if everything else is spiralling out of control, so you still feel stressed and ill?

For some people, it might not mean giving up the gym, it might mean saying no to a night out, or a change of job, alteration to your family life. Either way, I believe you have to be open to not trying to do everything when it all gets too much. You need to make a list and make priorities. You can always go back and do that thing again when you feel better.

My point is, our ‘wellbeing’ is not just physical wellbeing and nutrition – it’s so much more.  Many things have to work together for us to feel content, well and happy:

Career Wellbeing:- How we occupy our time each day and trying to ensure that we like it.

Social Wellbeing:- Having strong relationships and love in your life.

Financial Wellbeing:- Effectively managing your finances to reduce stress and increase security.

Physical Wellbeing:- having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

Community Wellbeing: The sense of engagement and involvement you have with the area where you live and your ability to have a positive impact on the quality of your environment.

Of course, this leads nicely for me to the importance of having a Financial Planner to help with Financial Wellbeing!  But actually, all of these type of ‘wellbeing’ are linked.

If you can get your finances focused and organised and know what your strategy is for the future, then you can think about other elements much more clearly. Can you afford to change your job, reduce hours or work from home? Can you afford a gym closer to home or equipment at home? Can you take time off to ‘give back’ to a charity you want to help? Can you afford to take some time out with your family on holiday?

A personalised Financial Plan can help you get focused, organised and move on, knowing you have a sound plan in place so that you don’t need to worry about money, or at least know what you need to do to ensure you are on track for the future. That ticks one item off the list so you can move on to sorting the others.

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.

Social media extravaganza

This week I am going to try to work out how best to use Social Media for business.

I feel it is very tricky to establish the human interest element when tweeting, posting or blogging about business, especially in connection with Finance. I find a lot of the Linked In and Twitter corporate stuff a little boring.

I believe the reason why many clients work with a Financial Planner, is because you are an individual and they like this ‘you’.  I find that in meetings, whilst they want to know that technically you are up to speed, well qualified and highly professional, they are not as interested in the highly technical details, as much as, where you are off on holiday or how your family are! It’s a very personal relationship that you build.

So, I need to work out how to strike a good balance of technical info and personal interest, and also whether to keep some parts separate, after all, not everyone needs to know what knitting project I’m working on and my friends don’t necessarily want to know all about work.

There are so many sites now: Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Blog, Instagram and Google+ (which I have no idea about) – so I have lots to do before I feel confident I can get it right.