Do you have a place you can go where you feel completely relaxed, cozy and safe? A place where you can truly get sweatshirt-and-yoga-pants comfy, coffee mug in one hand and a good book in another? A place where the scenery is beautiful and you’re surrounded by people you enjoy who accept you for exactly who you are? A place where the laughter, wine, and good conversation flow freely and your sense of belonging saturates you to the point of never wanting to leave?
When I am with my college friends, especially when we travel together, I have a sense of total acceptance and love between friends. We know intricate details of each other’s lives and love and accept each other unconditionally no matter the drama, we show up for each other and I know they’ve got my back. No. Matter. What.
Hot tub, mountains, swimming pool, beach, or cabin, we laugh and share and reminisce and catch up like we never left the dorm rooms.
That sense of belonging is essential to my well-being. I carry it with me and feel their presence until we meet up again and experience the comfort of total acceptance.
My heritage is Norwegian, and I recently learned that this concept and feeling described above actually has a word unto itself. In both Norway and Denmark, they call this concept of coziness, contentment, sense of belonging, delightful conversation and friendship hygge (pronounced hoo–guh). Being a word nerd, I did a deeper dive to learn more – how cool that this feeling has its own word!
The word grew out of a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy.” In Old Norse, hygge stems from hyggja, which means to think. The word hygge also stems from the word hugr, which later transformed into the word hug (which in Old Norse/Danish means soul, mind, consciousness). Recently, it evolved into a Scandinavian cultural idea and was even named runner-up as word of the year by the Collins English Dictionary in 2016. The Broadway musical Frozen includes a song called Hygge which celebrates being cozy, happy, and together. Many #hygge Instagram posts and Pinterest pins exist to learn more about this inviting concept.
What I know about hygge is felt in my mind, body and soul: getting intentional about creating a sense of comfort, coziness, and sense of belonging is absolutely essential if you work in a helping capacity.
In that spirit, we decided to create that sense of hygge right here – virtually. We love it so much that we have adopted this idea as our company philosophy. One of the ways our philosophy will be carried out is through imagery, resources, and blog articles on our website.
We offer blog posts that encourage and inform; newsletters that provide free tools, lists, cheat sheets, and patient/family handouts to teach from; articles on grief, loss, and caregiving; resources for helping you escape to an environment where it’s difficult to pause and catch our breath. We want to convey that sense of belonging that eludes many of us. As professionals who give of ourselves, sometimes we let self-care slide. We may skip breakfast or overbook our day. We may not make time to see our friends or taking a walk to decompress. We may avoid talking about our difficult day and fall asleep in front of the TV rather than talk it through with a loved one who cares.
Even though we can’t pour a cup of coffee and pull up a comfy chair, we can offer inspiration and encouragement, blog posts that relate to your challenges, and an understanding perspective, because, yes, we were hospice folks and professional caregivers once, too.
We know it’s a tough job. We know the tears. We know the schedule. And we know the feelings of fulfillment, love, and connection when you know you’ve made the difference for that family.
We will do our best to bring this concept to fruition to you in the form of our website and our TEND eLetter, so be sure to sign up! I am fortunate to have found an amazing creative director and website creator who has fleshed out our vision into gorgeous product photography, graphics, color palettes, logo, and brand voice. She has listened to our dreams and our purpose and has successfully brought multiple pieces together to create the concept of hygge and I am over-the-top excited for you to see the transformation!
We will be rolling out original pieces over the next few months. Our new website has just been launched to the world, but it’s still in its infancy and will continue to grow its offerings, so keep watching and reading!
We want to be a source of comfort not only to patients and families, but also those professionals who are responsible for their care.