Travel fatigue and the concept of Hygge

This week I travelled to Copenhagen, the first bit of business travel I’ve done in a number of years.

I didn’t feel particularly energised about travelling. The news of potential queues at airports, fatigue from moving house and lethargy of how to travel (i.e. remembering what to pack and how long to come back to the airport) as well as going to a conference full of new people which still feels weird left me feeling underwhelmed. I also have quite an intense trip coming up next week where I’ll be around the UK for two weeks in several different cities, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t feel tired before I started that.

There were two big obvious ironies here. The first one is that I’ve done plenty of learning around self-development. I have come to the conclusion that we can make our own realities based upon whether we decide the situation will be good or not before it even happens. Yet, I was making a trip to Copenhagen feel tiring due to my general negative thinking around it. So I needed to think about more about the positives – that I’m getting a free trip to a very cool city, get to meet new people and experiencing a new culture.

The second irony is that my trip to the UK next week is packed with seeing friends and family. I will have more social interaction with them in two weeks than I would have otherwise done in about 6 months when I lived in London. Sometimes we need a reason to make things happen – and my time-limited travel was just that prompt. The idea of being ‘tired’ no longer is quite the same barrier when I am decisive about making the most of my time.

In the midst of this internal battling I came across the Danish concept of Hygge. Hygge roughly translates to ‘cosiness’, but is further than that – the appreciation of a fireplace burning curled up in a blanket with a hot drink whilst a storm is going outside.

A lot about Hygge is about building enjoyable social interactions with others – usually a small group – where you enjoy each others company without necessarily needing too many outside stimuli. An egalitarian space of sharing a Pot Luck dinner, playing board games, and getting wrapped up in comfy blankets with lots of candles on can make for a far more pleasant evening than a TV blaring at me all evening.

This made me reflect on the intentionality in my actions. I’ve found myself recently feeling like I’m being dictated to by my schedules, rather than being in control of my own life. I slouch in front of the sofa because I’m tired after work, rather than being in control of what I am doing because I want to. I find it hard to rest because my mind is too active, rather than being in control of my own thoughts and feelings which would allow me to be active when I need to, and rest when I don’t.

So I’ve committed to re-evaluate my daily routine and how I am showing up in the world. I can decide what I do without succumbing to my temporal emotions such as being too tired to socialise, or too ‘awake’ to fall asleep.

By doing so, I can do far more of the things I want to do, meaning I can feel fulfilled. And after all, isn’t that what life is ultimately about?

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