Another Covid winter, but our quarantine comforts no longer work

At some point, we run out of distractions and recipes, and we end up with a cycle of viral outbreaks that is as stressful as it is tedious.

“Everyone was so determined to get back to normal they made plans that never happened,” said Ms Mecking, speaking from her home in the Netherlands, which had just ordered another lockdown to curb the increase in Covid cases. “It gave people a lot of false hope.”

She plans to use the surprisingly quiet vacations to do what she does best: nothing. Adopting the Niksen philosophy, Ms Mecking, who is Polish, feels no pressure to take it to the next level, despite cultural and social expectations to appear busy. “You don’t need to bake sourdough bread,” she said. “You don’t have to do anything, really. “

You can just look at the walls and exist.

Meik Wiking, Managing Director of the happiness research institute, a Copenhagen-based think tank that explores why some companies are happier than others, didn’t seem particularly happy the day we spoke on Zoom. Her friend, who lives in New York, had recently canceled a vacation trip to Denmark after the country adopted new restrictions. “It’s an annual tradition that we have to end the happiness we keep for Christmas,” he said.

The Danes, of course, know all about long, dark and lonely winters and have developed endless coping mechanisms to survive them. Near the top of the list is hygge, a Danish word that sort of rhymes with fugue and is a deeply rooted Scandinavian philosophy of comfort that relies on candles, woolen blankets, and soup. Mr. Wiking, the author of “The little book of Hygge: the Danish way of living well,”Suggested that we look at hygge as a way to respond to the changing conditions around us. We may not be able to control the virus, but we can control dinner.

“The carpet was ripped out from under us, but we’ve already done it, we can do it again,” he said. “Yes, things are pretty bad, to put it in scientific terms, but there is always happiness to be experienced at Christmas and during the holidays. We will always be able to cook wonderful and delicious meals.

An institute of happiness report on Wellness During Covid has revealed that people who have designed or undertaken DIY projects have reported being happier during the pandemic. But the enthusiasm for these activities waned after a few months because, well, how long can we knit with enthusiasm? But the one activity that had the most impact on our happiness – going out for 15 minutes a day – became more popular over the months. Getting away from the house turned out to be a good thing.

Maria D. Ervin