In the depths of winter Scandinavia only has approximately 3-6 hours of daylight each day. The sun peeks up above the southern horizon, giving them a twilight-like light for a few hours, before dipping down again. This may sound strange and even terrible to those of us who live a tad closer to the equator. Long winter days can lead to seasonal depression, especially once the sparkle of the holidays is over.

This winter, of course, will be harder than usual. It will be the long Covid night before the dawn of vaccine distribution. How will we manage without our usual slew of social engagements, concerts, and parties? Perhaps we can take a page out of Denmark’s book.

Enter hygge.

a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

Hygge is more a lifestyle philosophy than anything else. It is the idea of leaning into any activities that create contentment and coziness. What things can bring you that feeling? A warm cup of your favorite beverage as you read a novel? A bath by candlelight? Your favorite handicraft as your kids play in a room as far away from you as the four walls of your house will allow?

What about music? Ahhhh, music is always there for us. It’s there for us in moments of celebration, in moments of sorrow, in moments of worship, and on and on. We encourage you to help heal your heart by indulging this winter in the music you love. Perhaps you love opera (we do!) and you can have your Level 5 child teach you about The Magic Flute (they learned about it last week!). Or you can join the Metropolitan Opera’s weekly stream. Perhaps you love James Taylor and listen to him on vinyl. Perhaps you like to stream Top 40 over your smart speaker at home. Or maybe you like to belt along to your favorite Broadway soundtrack.

Don’t forget the needs of your little ones to feel a little hygge too. Perhaps they could color while you play their favorite Kindermusik playlist over the app on your phone. Have the Carpenter’s Christmas album playing softly as you make cookies together. Or you could snuggle up together and watch a video field trip on your Kindermusik online account.

Lean in to those little, often simple, moments when you can find pleasure in simple daily tasks. And always add music and stir. There’s rarely a time when some quality music can’t enhance a moment.

How’s Your Heart?

It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? We have collectively been superstars as we figure out how to keep life managed as time ticks by during these unique circumstances.

We want to let you caregivers know that we SEE you. Enduring life during a pandemic is hard for everyone, but there are extra challenges when you are a caretaker. We see you being heroes for your little ones by the way you continue to show up to life each day. Each day you care for your children. Each day you manage the family schedule. Each day you continue to want the best for your kids, whatever that looks like for your unique family situation.

We see you in class with your littles. We see you trying. And we have to ask . . . how’s your HEART? How are YOU? The JOY team is very focused on the development of your children and in providing a positive Kindermusik experience for them, but just know that we care about you too. We care about your experience. We care about all the ways you are showing up and fighting hard.

No matter the hard, no matter the challenge, no matter the strain, you keep showing up for your children. We applaud you. We know these times will shape the psyche of this generation of children and parents, and you are there each day fighting for some normal, fighting for some balance. You are STILL providing a loving and enriching environment for your children.

For all we’ve been through this year, we’re not done with it yet. “And miles to go before I sleep . . .” as the great poet Robert Frost said.

Even though we have a long time to go to get through this pandemic together, we have come so far. So take a moment and remind your inner child that you are doing fine. You are doing enough. You are enough. Take care of YOUR heart too.