HI there! Remember me?

It's been a couple of weeks since the last newsletter, as I was waylaid by some travel and a not-so-friendly cold that followed. But I'm back, and ready for more Sown-ing! And I hope you are too.

Hygge has been on my mind lately, and not just because I just went to Denmark (though that helps). You have probably heard of the hygge trend in the news every winter when people talk about the homeliness that chunky sweaters, comfy blankets, and soothing candlelight can bring. They're the perfect ingredients for making the most of a cozy, Instagrammable winter, but "at its core, hygge is about building intimacy and trust with others," according to this look at why hygge significantly increases Danes' happiness. Hygge is also sort of intentional intimacy — when you have "safe, balanced, and harmonious experiences."
But does hygge exist outside of the tundra-like days? The answer, according to my Little Book of Hygge guide, is yes. A whole chapter is devoted to summer hygge, which the author (and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute) describes as "the smell of new-mown grass, suntanned skin, sunscreen, and salt water." His biggest tip for summer hygge is joining or building a community garden: "Tending to your tomatoes while having a chat with other gardeners is both hyggelig [the adjective of hygge] and meditative. In addition, it brings people in the local neighborhood together and fosters the development of community spirit. What's not to like?" A community garden was one of the tools his institute used to help a particular town reduce isolation and loneliness in the community. Find one near you here, or get the steps for how to start one yourself here.

"In may ways, it is like a good hug, but without the physical contact. it is in this situation that you can be completely relaxed and yourself. The art of hygge is therefore also the art of expanding your comfort zone to include other people," he wrote. They surveyed Danes and 57% said it only takes three to four people to hygge (quality over quantity!), and 20% only said it takes two people. How can you actually put this into action? The author recommends making memories through a recurring tradition, like Friday board games once a month or celebrating the summer solstice by the water (or, hey, working in a community garden).
As I prepare to move into a new apartment in June, I'm thinking more and more about how I can make it hyggelig all year long. How can I make it really cozy for me? How can this make me feel more at home? Aside from checking out the spring cleaning postings on Craigslist for comfy chairs, how can I build on the past tips we've talked about here at Sown to really foster some hygge home vibes — with friends? Send your suggestions my way. 📬

Next week, the Q&A's return, and we'll get back to the more specific making-friends-in-adulthood thing. But for now, I wish you all lots of hygge. 

Go sow: Challenge for the week. 

Think spring: Can you get outside and with your community this week? Are there volunteer opportunities at a nearby community garden? An upcoming 5k race you can support? How can you bring more hygge into your home — and your life? 
Write back and let me know how it goes! And add these to your friendship toolkit:
  • GPS directions for adulthood: "In two miles, make a right. There is nothing interesting there, but the important thing is to keep moving forward, even if your only friend is the bartender at Applebee’s."
  • Why it matters to have friends at work: "You get the best from each other when things are going well and when they’re not going well."
  • Re-evaluating trolls: Former Fox News/now CNN contributor Sally Kohn's new book has drawn some drama, but this Q&A focuses on how she reflected on her memories of being a bully in grade school to now balancing political heat. 
  • Friendship on Skid Row: "The women in Skid Row need shelters that protect them, more access to affordable housing and a guarantee that their abusers won’t be free to retaliate against them. But until that happens, women band together in order to survive."
  • A Disney parade celebrating friendship!! I'm the Disney dork you see going to Disneyland for the first time in my 20s and tearing up inside the Disney store at the mall, so I was super excited to see the news of a celebration all about friendship between our beloved characters, kicking off at the parks this summer. Now I've gone down the rabbit hole of this list of Disney friendship quotes.... (Ohana!)

Grow the Sow.

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