My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

The Flu, Hygge, and Almond Biscotti


We (hubby and I) planned a trip several months ago. Mid-January, we would fly to west and spend time with a special cousin and her husband. Then, we’d hop on another flight and go spend a few days with an aunt, uncle, and their family in another area on the west coast. After a few days with them, we’d fly to Florida and spend time with friends who winter there.

Sounds like a perfect plan for two people who are of “near retirement” age, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, life has a way of throwing curve balls into the best laid plans of mice and men. Hubby got the flu. Not Influenza A or B, just some generic version with the same, nasty symptoms.

This past Sunday, he developed a headache. By Monday, the fever, chills, and body aches invaded. On Tuesday, we canceled our flight to the west coast. Now, I could wail and gnash my teeth, but what good does that do for my emotional health? Nothing.  So, I am taking each day as it comes.

Enter a “new to me “ concept covered in our Seasonal Affective Disorder discussion during a recent NAMI support group – hygge. (pronounced “hoo-gah”) It’s a concept from Denmark and Norway. The people in these countries adopted this lifestyle to help cope with the long, cold winter with limited daylight hours. I would describe hygge as a conscious effort to surround themselves with the things that make life good. Such as a secure, content mindset focusing on friendship, laughter, plenty of light, a hot cup of coffee or tea, a warm blanket, and rest when tired.

Basically, it’s an awareness to enjoy the moment. I can see a lot of good coming from adopting this mindset year-round.

Since my travel plans dissolved yesterday, I decided to practice the art of hygge. I can’t change the fact that we have to stay home. Nope, can’t. Disappointed? Yes. I decided to foster a sense of well-being for myself. I ate my last treat yesterday, so I decided to bake a batch of almond biscotti. I love to savor a biscotti with my afternoon latte. Most purchased ones use sugar and wheat flour and I try to avoid both. Therefore, I’ve been tweaking a recipe for almond biscotti for several months. I think I’ve almost got it the way I want. First, I substituted almond flour for the wheat flour to lower carbs. I also changed the sugar amount by using 2/3 erythritol (sugar alcohol) and a scant 1/3 white sugar. This lowered the carbs even further. Why do I want to lower the carbs? My body doesn’t process them very well and I battle blood sugar fluctuations. Mostly, it dips too low. I feel so much better since I significantly reduced my intake of carbohydrates.

Back to the almond biscotti. They were like “Mary Poppins” – practically perfect in every way. They just got a little too brown. I think I need to lower the oven temperature for the final bake. (Biscotti requires two sessions in the oven.) I hope one more attempt and then I’ll master it. When I do, I’ll post the recipe on my blog. Stay tuned.

And in the meantime, consider the idea of hygge for yourself. Accept what life throws at you. Find things that make you feel secure and content. Take care of yourself. And count your blessings.

Bye for now.

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