The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

Fancy a cosy corner or a warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness? 

If you love an ambient pub or fireplace chats with warm cookies and great company- there’s an excellent reason! It’s a Hygge vibe. 

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland and Denmark take first and second place as the world’s happiest countries. What’s the secret? Quite possibly Hygge! According to the Danes, our northern counterparts; Hygge- pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh is a Norweigan word that falls under a cultural category, meaning -a hug without the touch. 

For the linguaphile -the word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy”. Hygge stems from hyggja which means “to think” in Old Norse. Hygge is built from the Old Norse word hugr which later became the hug which means the soul, mind, consciousness. 

Meik Wiking is an expert and author of The Little Book of Hygge. According to Meik Wiking, the practice of Hygge is charming, cosy, wholesome but with a sprinkle of sinful snacking like chocolate. 

“Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to the cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight”. 

Ponderers, there is even a Hygge cookbook – ( I ordered it, and the recipes are most certainly sinful) Click here to check it out  Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge.  

How do we achieve that fuzzy feeling of Hygge? 

Well there are so many ways to have a Hygge moment or make time for Hygge, but the fundamentals according to Meik are; 

1) Light! Ambient light. Ever wondered why the Scandi style is so focussed on lighting?

The design aesthetic and colour temperature are essential to creating Hygge. Candles are also HUGE; the Scandi countries are the largest consumers of candles in the world. We have some for you here – the wonderful folks over at Angel Sent Candles have a Hygge range and they’ve shared them with us at www.shop.angelsentcandles.com

2) Presence- get off the phones and be in the moment! 

3) Pleasure-

Think cakes, pastries, hot drinks and lollies! Here’s the link to that book again if you didn’t see it already- Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge  

4) Equality – We over Me

Sharing is caring. Share household chores. Share attention and listening. Share your love for those around you.

5) Gratitude-

 

Take it all in; this might be as good as it gets.

 

6) Harmony,

 

We already like you, no need to mention your achievements or the current political environment. You get the drift.

 

7) Comfort, cosiness, blankets,

 

Take a break and relax. But Hygge is humble and slow, not expensive. Ugly warm socks and homemade cookies are more than acceptable vs champagne and heels. Simplicity and modesty are crucial components.  

 

8) Truce-

 

No drama and a sense of belonging will ensue. No topics of tension and arguments must be put to one side. 

 

9) Togetherness,

 

Build a narrative, play a board game. Do you remember the time we…? Oxytocin is released when we are physically near someone, its called the hug hormone, so Hygge away! Cooperation, trust and love are the buzzwords here. 

 

10) Shelter,

 

This is your tribe and a place of peace and tranquillity. 

 

Sounds wonderful right? 

Every home I have lived in; the first thing I needed was a cozy corner. Always. I love nothing more than snuggling up in my favourite chair, pooch at my side, a candle burning, a cup of herbal tea, soothing music and if it’s winter- that fireplace earns its keep. 

So after reading Meik’s book, I decided to introduce the family to Hygge night- Sunday evenings would be dedicated to pure Hygge-ness. 

We rolled out our new Harry Potter Cluedo game, put the earlier made cookies on a plate, made some dutch cocoa, grabbed some comfy blankets, pillows and dimmed lighting all topped off with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Phew. It was pretty magical. A cringe-worthy moment of wholesome indulgence. 

I was very tired, so I snuggled in on the couch with the bunch and watched on picking broccoli seeds and enjoying the merriment. It was beautiful. 

Then the dog farted- no one had explained Hygge to him so totally not his fault. Kind of ruined the vibe. When I looked at the aforementioned hound with a raised eyebrow, he stared at me right back; I imagined a Seth McFarlane Brian Griffin-Esque voice “stupid humans.”  

Have you got the Hygge vibe?

Check out our Pinterest curation of all things Hygge and the video below for further awesome ideas. Go to app.ponderings.com.au to get the Hygge links or check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

We partnered with Angel Sent Candles – here’s their new Hygge range of candles. 

PS- 

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.” 

https://worldhappiness.report

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Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Stephanie Asher- Geelong’s Shining Light

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Mayor, Committee Chair, Advocate, Mother, Businesswoman, Consultant and Author, amongst other delightful discoveries- this reads like an à la carte menu of achievement. However, amongst the glaring lights of success, it is the sunny, fresh-faced honesty and integrity that has you standing in the shine that is Stephanie Asher. 

Many describe you as being very positively driven with an abundant flair for leadership- did you have someone in your life as a child who inspired you or a role model you believe influenced these aspects? 

My parents were career-focused and managed to balance their work ethic by providing my sister and I with a happy and healthy childhood, which I consider the ultimate privilege.

My dad has always been incredibly focused on values and the importance of a society founded on sound moral values. At the same time, my mum is extremely social and managed the connection between work relationships and friendships very well. I learned a lot from them both, and I’m grateful every day for their emphasis on a good education.

 The leadership aspect probably comes about because I see solutions quite easily and over time, I’ve learned to voice them and own them. As Rosanne Barr said, “As a woman, no one is going to give you power, you have to take it.”

Do you believe a growth mindset is a skill someone can learn? 

If that means a focus on abundance rather than a fear of scarcity, absolutely. And once learned, it’s so important to keep remembering – to bite down on that panic that we are not enough and that we may miss out.

There is a huge sense of freedom and confidence in shifting from the marketing-driven ‘need to compete’ to a spirit of generosity and appreciating that there is actually plenty for everyone. 

If you could only use three words to describe your perfect day; what would it be? 

Sunny, active and fun.

Have you had a crisis that transformed into a valuable learning experience? 

Probably more than I’m prepared to put in writing! Travelling alone to Europe on a one-way ticket four days after turning 21 was filled with challenges and mini-crises, but the year away backpacking was life-changing. 

One example was arriving in Nice late at night to no accommodation, and my plan to sleep at the train station was foiled when it closed at midnight. I ended up sleeping (with one eye open) on the beach, which was vaguely terrifying and decidedly uncomfortable as it’s not sandy! Learning to survive through challenges provides inner strength.

What is a habit in people you find irksome? 

I’m fascinated by people, and I find that the most irritating traits can also be funny. But sniffing is annoying and licking a knife is disgusting and more than a bit dangerous.

 What are you reading right now? 

 The Gina Rhinehart biography by Adele Ferguson.

 Favourite movie of all time? 

 

I have the memory of a sieve with movies, but seeing Watership Down as a kid had a major impact on me, not least because the music was so powerful. All-time faves are probably Zoolander, Happy Gilmore and anything Monty Python because I laugh out loud every time I think about particular scenes. 

 

What inspired you to write The Footy Lady, and if you could choose one resonating memory from this experience, what would it be? 

A mutual friend connected Sue Alberti and I, and we clicked at our first meeting over coffee. Sue’s life story is so colourful, so dramatic and such a powerful demonstration of the power of grit and resilience to transform lives. It was impossible not to want to write about it! The unexpected aspect of being Sue’s biographer was the inspiration she provided to me personally about never giving up. It is a message that is so important to women, in particular, as we face many hurdles and a lot of them are invisible. Sue literally keeps showing up despite constant knockbacks, and she is always flawlessly groomed and brings a beaming smile. My resonating memory is of Sue’s beautiful smile and wicked sense of humour. She is a winner.  

Favourite genre of music? 

 

My taste is so eclectic it’s ridiculous. I grew up with dad rocking our Saturday mornings with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Diamond, The Fifth Dimension, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. I then spent my teens and 20s in Melbourne’s live music venues being a ‘friend of the band’, had a housemate for seven years obsessed with 70s metal and now my daughter is valiantly educating me with current artists. Having said all that, I do have a soft spot for 60s soul.

I feel as though you have a solid collaborative and progressive impact on Geelong and district, which is positive at least and in a dignified way that gives a flourish of class and excitement. This kind of cohesion in a council once described in less favourable ways is inspiring. The legacy seems to have changed course significantly- in light of this, what do you believe is intrinsic to happiness and productivity in a complex workplace? 

 

Thank you for your very kind words! Be assured that I don’t work alone; I have a great group of councillors around me who are part of that shift to professionalism and collaborative spirit.

For happy and productive workplaces, I believe acceptance is really important – acceptance of other people, different views and new ways of doing things. I always distinguish between tolerance and acceptance because tolerance has a condescension about it, whereas acceptance is kind and generous.

A sense of fun is also mandatory wherever I spend significant time and effort – if you can’t have a laugh, it’s not worth being there.

Professionally speaking, accountability is critical. I manage large people-centric projects as a consultant, and high-performing workplaces are focused on getting things done and clear accountability. When people know their role and the timelines associated with tasks, they can function more effectively. Opacity and incompetence go hand in hand.

Treehouse or cubbyhouse and why? 

 

Both are hugely appealing, but I’d opt for a treehouse for the view and the perspective. And the birdsong!

 

What message would you like us to ponder?

 

 It made a huge impact on me when I chose to embrace uncertainty in life. At 27, I chose a career as a consultant and set up my own business. As a female, I could see the challenges ahead with trying to have a family in a permanent corporate role. The alternative – uncertainty – has the benefit of flexibility and freedom.

Having moved from Melbourne to the surf coast 20 years ago, I have a non-local perspective, and I suspect it’s my city upbringing that allows me to see how regional areas can struggle with change and lack of certainty. 

Once we accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive and exciting, there is the chance to then look at what we can influence and what we can’t. Fighting change usually means missing out on the opportunity to control that change. 

My observation is that the people of Greater Geelong are starting to see the benefits of managing change well. So many people say Geelong has great potential and I believe that if we continue to work together to manage our regional growth in a sustainable way then we will realise that potential. 

It is such an amazing region – I call the Bellarine ‘the best holiday place to live’ – and I am confident we are all of a similar mindset that we want to prosper at pace, but in a gentle and sensitive manner.

To find out more about The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Geelong, Ms Stephanie Asher- (her well earned title, eloquent don’t you think?) head over to: 

https://geelongaustralia.com.au/councillors/article/item/8d540963de6a0dd.aspx

https://geelongconsulting.com

Click here to get your copy!

Bought to you by Stephanie Asher- Susan Alberti- The woman from the working-class suburbs has battled boardrooms, cancer, diabetes, open-heart surgery and shed 59 kilos—half her body weight—on the road to recovery. She has stared down adversity and prevailed.

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It covers Phi’s long distance love story alongside Tinder Casanovas, high school stalkers, mental health and migration. This poetic journey is more than your typical love story.

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The Lark at Gluttony – Rymill Park

East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

20, 21 and 26th of February at 5pm

5, 6, 7, 8 of March at 5pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Show Dates & Venues:

Laneway Garden Stage at Mixed Creative

20, 27th of February at 8pm

28 of February at 7pm

Tickets – Full Price $25, Concession $20

Tickets available via: bit.ly/LaaDFringeTix

Email Phi via storyteller@phitheodoros.com or 0401 517 082 for enquiries relating to

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Thanks to the Department of Premier and Cabinet through Arts South Australia and Adelaide Fringe.

 

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Invisible Disability Stigma Signals Need For Change

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Disability discrimination accounts for the highest volume of complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission annually.

This can potentially lead to those living with an invisible disability to decide to hide their condition from prospective employers in fear of discrimination and social stigma, according to leading Disability Employment Services experts atWork Australia. In order to create inclusive workplaces, the need for support, open conversation and businesses to see the ability in disability, has never been more important.

The International Day of People with Disability will be observed on 3 December, with the theme ‘seeing the ability in disability’. With this in mind, it’s key to note that not all disabilities are visible and therefore conversations should be widely encouraged, promoting empowerment and inclusiveness. It needs to be said that focussing on abilities is positive, however labelling and the stigma attached to ‘dis’ rings loud and clear across the country regardless. 

Research shows that mental health conditions are at least twice as prevalent than they were in non-pandemic circumstances. With another 700,0002 Australians said to live with a brain injury and approximately 3.95 million experiencing hearing loss, invisible disabilities are affecting more people each day. 

“Invisible disabilities, or hidden disabilities, are those that are not immediately obvious including mental and/or neurological conditions, impairments to the senses, chronic pain and issues that restrict movement,” says Shaun Pianta, atWork Australia DES Ambassador & Disability Awareness Trainer. “For example, people who live with a mental health condition may not ‘appear’ to have a disability but much of their daily life is affected by their condition. It’s the same with chronic pain, or diabetes. As a result of these conditions not being instantly apparent, this can lead to a multitude of misconceptions, judgements and sadly, discrimination,” he adds.

In a recent study on the people who experience the highest rate of employment restrictions, those living with ‘invisible’ disabilities reported highest, with 91% experiencing mental ill health, 88% for emotional and nervous conditions and 78%  experiencing chronic pain.

Sharah Smith, a client of atWork Australia lives with depression and anxiety which at one point led to a severe social phobia and agoraphobia. “I was unable to leave my house alone, and even if I had company to help me, the anxiety would be unbearable. I was beginning to be unable to go grocery shopping. I lost contact with friends which led to loneliness and increased depression,” says Sharah. 

“The fact that I couldn’t leave my home made it incredibly hard to even consider employment, and I worried that while people are usually understanding, some may still judge and think that I was ‘lazy’ or needed to ‘get over it’. When I began speaking with atWork Australia however, I began to trust them and the process due to their understanding of my illness.

“I eventually became comfortable around my Job Coaches who encouraged me to try new things, like going to appointments and catching public transport alone. I attended a resilience group atWork Australia hosted and regained some of my social skills. They also referred me to counselling and coached me before interviews, even driving me to meetings and my first day of work. They also helped me gain my licence, which was a requisite for my current job,” Sharah adds. 

Business leaders have a pivotal role in educating themselves and their employees on the benefits of employing someone living with disability and changing the focus to seeing the abilities that these workers bring to their roles. In celebration of the International Day of People with Disability, the Department of Social Services has produced a number of resources which can encourage workplaces to promote and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of people with disability. While many organisations will still be working remotely, businesses can get involved online, celebrating staff members who may be living with disability and inspiring other staff members to join in the conversation. 

Beyond supporting those living with disability, businesses also gain a lot of benefit from creating inclusive workplaces, as research shows that in 9 out of 10 cases (90%), employees with disability, injury or health condition are as, or more, productive than their peers and almost the same number (86%)  show superior attendance. 

Disability Employment Services, an Australian Government initiative delivered by atWork Australia, aims to support businesses by offering bespoke inclusive recruitment advice (from development of position description through to retention of staff) based on their needs, and to connect them with job-ready candidates. atWork Australia works with prospective employees to prepare them for interviews, while assisting employers with the hiring and onboarding process through screening candidates based on skills, abilities and organisational fit. Once in place, the provider continues to monitor the placement and offers assistance to both employer and employee over the first year, and beyond if required.

“I now actually work for atWork Australia and love my job,” says Sharah. “While I still struggle with tasks such as making phone contact with clients when there are other people in the room, my experience as a client and living with an invisible disability has benefited both myself and my clients, as I am able to empathise with their situations and service them in a way that helps their progress.”

“Our aim is to shape a society and the future of work, that is inclusive for all people living with disability, injury or a health condition,” says Shaun. “That starts by recognising that not all disabilities are visible and that no matter the condition, we need to remove stigma to create better relationships for all,” Shaun concludes.

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New Passion Project Launches For Ponderings

New Passion Project Launches For Ponderings

Good things can come from the most unpredictable events in life. 

When I was very sick, there was an awful lot of information to keep. Notes, appointments, reminders, a health list was needed so I could keep a record of progress, symptoms and feelings, how much water I had consumed, the exercise completed and the food I had eaten were all important components. Along with the most essential; a long term investment in Gratitude.

This daily list of all ways I could find Gratitude- I called it my Vitamin G. Because when the world feels like it is falling apart, you remind yourself of all the things you can do, the people you love or who love you and even the food you may eat can be graciously accepted as gifts. Eventually the body believes the mind and wonderful things happen. 

I needed something without dates so that I could enter my own. Structure without pressure can be excellent, it makes goal setting an invitation rather than a Have To or Should.

 We are very excited to present our joy project this year- The Ponderings Companion journal.

Beautifully illustrated with vintage Japanese silk art from the 1800s and printed on gorgeous quality 110 gsm paper this jopurnal had to be something we could be really proud of and want to use every day.  OF COURSE we had to ensure it was Australian made and printed. We cannot wait for you to hold this in your hand and heart.

The invitation on each page says- Today Is A New Day Full of Possibility reminds us to start fresh because opportunities for a full life exist everywhere. Proceeds of the Journal go towards keeping the Ponderings storytelling mission alive and well in very troubling times, we forge forward with new ideas and ways to keep up the good work. 

 

Click here to get your copy; SHOP ONLINE LINK

Ponderings Journal 2021
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Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald

Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an in-depth tale. 

Themes of friendship, bullying and complex relationships in an authentic narrative will leave you pondering. Threads of history, romance and mysticism are explored in a backdrop fuelled with sex romps for good measure. 

“This book is for hope. The whole message is to prevent suicide events and to make people aware of what they say to each other, be careful what you say because you don’t know what the other person is going through,” says Author Dacre Danes. 

The protagonist of the story; Danyon, is severely bullied and suffers from violent trauma from his years of mental anguish. With support from his best friend Blake and newfound friendship with his school bully Dash, Danyon comes to realise his suffrage from being bullied might just be a gift of individuality. 

Author Dacre Danes joined us to share his excitement about his book, five years in the making. 

“I have always been a writer since I was given a typewriter for Christmas when I was ten. I have always read books; books are like trophies for me. [the book] started as therapeutic for me to get a few things out, and then I remembered lots of things that have happened to people and stories. A lot of the inspiration has come from my experiences personally and other people I know. I want this book to get into the hands of people that need it, especially people that are getting bullied. I want them to realise they have a gift, they’re here for a reason, and there is hope.” 

A parallel war story throughout the novel touches on human relationships in the past, and this juxtaposition Dacre says is like the war of bullying. 

“You had to be at war then, but we don’t have to be at war with each other now,” Dacre says. 

The book touches on what Dacre describes as “magic realism” which he uses to explore the character’s blackouts and other symptoms. As a reader, you are left wondering if Danyons spiritual and mystical experiences are clairvoyance or a diagnosed illness. 

There are also underlying themes throughout the novel that explore the LGBTQIA community. Dacre wanted Danyon to be an icon for those who did not feel the need to be labelled but instead fuelled by romance based on connection over gender. Dacre believes novels should be more accepting of this community, as “love is love”. 

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Dacre Danes is an ambassador for bullying prevention organisation Bully Zero. In partnership, Dacre will release a live podcast called Bull Rush, which is in conversation with Bully Zero CEO Ali Halkic. Dacre is also an ambassador for Equi Energy Youth and the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association. 

 

“I have a hashtag called #iamdanyon, and I’m gathering people who have my book to upload a picture of themselves on Instagram with a hashtag because everyone has a story of mental health or a story of bullying. So when people tell a story, they can say, well I am Danyon as well,” Dacre says.

Danyon is Available at Barnes and Noble & Amazon along with all good book stores. 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/d-a-n-y-o-n-dacre-danes/1137436388

 Amazon;

 https://www.amazon.com/D-n-y-Dacre-Danes/dp/164999396X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1598054280&sr=8-1

 

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