How To Embrace Your Hygge and Thaw Your Maine Winter Mindset

Elizabeth Patrick, Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor

On the first snowfall, Bates campus feels like a quaint snowglobe. It’s exciting to finally bundle up in your favorite sweaters and hats that you’ve been waiting all summer to wear. Bates posts the winter scene all over social media, celebrating the joy that is winter in Maine.

Less magical, however, is falling on the brown ice sheets in front of your peers. Spilling your now lukewarm pad thai from Commons you just waited 20 minutes in line for. This is our COVID-19 winter reality. I’m not painting this picture from my head; I’ve actually seen people, plural, slip on the ice and fall with their grab-and-go lunch in-hand. 

Winter in Lewiston can be truly horrible, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. It all starts with mindset. Part of that initial shift is remembering that every single body on this campus chose to be here in some capacity, most likely with the knowledge that it’s absolutely disgusting (objectively) for the majority of the year.

The most obvious reason for flocking north during young adult years is that you’re an outdoor extremist: seeking ski cliffs, challenging temps or other boundaries to push in the elements. But even if you don’t enjoy frostbite, there are ways to find your joie de vivre in the winter time.

The Danes may have invented hygge (“hue-guh”), but this cultural acceptance of cozy vibes and comfort can certainly thrive in Maine. Hygge is all about milking life’s small pleasures to find joy during dark times — literal darkness that is, as sunlight is scarce during the colder months.

I can’t think of an easier space to make snuggly than our modest-sized dorms. Turn your living space into a comfort capsule by getting a few nice blankets, fuzzy pillows, slippers or maybe an electric tea pot for warming brews. You don’t have to blow your budget hygge-fying your room; as little as $30 can go a long way on some cozy accents. 

When your living space is snuggly, let yourself relax. Read that book that’s been on your list forever that you’ve never had time to read. Watch a new show you’ve been hearing about with some friends. The point is, we Northerners have the luxury of guilt-free lazy pastime for the next few months, so make use of it.

When the season does finally turn and everyone comes out of their pale hibernation, the sun is earnestly welcomed. This is something I love about living in Maine: The celebration and gratuity we all share for spring.