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Renew your appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.

It’s known as the Nordic secret to happiness and its basic elements include spending time outdoors (yes, even in the Nordic winter!), remaining active, keeping food simple and nourishing, being kind to yourself, being sociable and spending time with loved ones.

Signe Johansen, author of How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life, writes “A life of hygge requires kindness: to ourselves in the everyday acts that bring contentedness and pleasure, and kindness to others in spirit of kinship and conviviality.”

I plan to incorporate more hygge into my life and this “month for love” feels like the perfect time to start. On the list: I’ll stop hiding from the cold, bundle up and get outdoors more often, open the scented bath salts I got for Christmas and soak in a hot tub, keep candles burning, mix up a pot of hot chocolate and invite a few friends over for a game night. Already, the grey February Pittsburgh skies seem brighter.

Learning about hygge has renewed my commitment to savor the simple pleasures in life. What do I hope to achieve? A deeper sense of contentment, coziness and a sense of well- being. Now that feels like love to me.


Thai Massage

But I’ve wanted to add something more, something different to the gym routine. Thankfully, a friend told me about Thai massage. I’d never heard of it before, but she told me it was sort of like having yoga done to you. That sounded different to me, so I scheduled an appointment and boy, am I glad I did!

It was nothing like the massages I’ve had in the past. There are no oils and no heated tables. I was fully clothed, lying on a floor mat as the therapist stretched and moved my body in every way possible for 90 minutes. All tension and stress melted away and I felt rejuvenated. This may not be for every one, but it was exactly what I was looking for. My friend was right, it was like having yoga done to me and it left me with the same blissful, revitalized feeling as a yoga class.

As I left the facility, a broad smile would not leave my face. My body felt lighter and more limber from the stretching. My mind was in a quiet, peaceful state from the relaxation and as a result, my spirit felt revitalized. Even sitting for 30 minutes in a long line of traffic on the parkway could not steal my happiness. All this from Thai massage? Yep!

The blissful feeling lasted for a few days. It was one of the most loving, nurturing gifts I could have given myself. Has another appointment been scheduled? You’d better believe it!