Getting the Upper Hand on the Winter Blues

From cozy reads to calming rubdowns, we've scoured the valley for ways to keep grounded throughout the winter.

By Kirsten Dobroth February 5, 2017

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A restorative class with Mountain Soul Yoga.

Image: Britt Felton

For a little mountain town hours away from the nearest city, the winter season can move at a frenetic pace that leaves you gasping for some TLC aimed at preserving your sanity. Sure, the mountain can be like a natural therapy session, but what if your busy schedule cuts into laps on the hill? We scoured the valley for some of the best ways to incorporate some "me-time" into locals' busy schedules, and the results should keep you cozy, connected, and grounded as you move through the season.

Transform your personal space into an area of hygellig comforts.

What the heck is hygellig? Denmark consistently finds itself atop lists denoting the happiest countries in the world, largely thanks to the Danish philosophy of the hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), roughly translated to various meanings including "the art of creating intimacy," "the absence of annoyance," "coziness of the soul," and "cocoa by candelight," according to Meik Wiking, author of "The Little Book of Hygge." 

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The concept of hygge has been a trendy one recently, with various publications offering their own takes on the Danish fascination with cozy living -- the New Yorker even dubbed 2017 as "The Year of the Hygge" -- but the gist is this: you don't have to have a chic flat decked out with animal hides in the heart of Copenhagen to recreate the results. 

"Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things," writes Wiking in his book. "It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life -- or just be comfortable in each other's silent company -- or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea."

The takeaway here is to make time for yourself, either with family and friends or on your own, and remove yourself from the distractions of your cell phone, e-mails, or anything else that leaves you in a deficit of cozy intimacy. Wool socks, heavy sweaters, a fireplace, and candles all help, but for some more practical advice on finding a small sense of hygge in your own home, try starting with a quiet evening cozied up with Wiking's book, a cup of tea, and turning your cell phone on silent. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, $19.99. Bookworm of Edwards, 970-926-7323; The Spice & Tea Exchange of Vail, Vail Village, 970-476-7247

Move your body and quiet your mind.

Easier said than done, right? Luckily for us here in the Vail Valley, we have the opportunity to do both. Try taking a yin yoga class, or a restorative class, both of which have more of an emphasis on long, deep stretching tied together with focused, meaningful breathing, and often works to quiet the mind as well as resetting the body. Revolution Power Yoga, Eagle Vail, 970-748-3176; Mountain Soul Yoga, Edwards, 970-446-6485

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The Vail Vitality Center also offers a Sunday evening community yoga class with a discounted rate for non-members of the athletic club -- often the perfect way to reset yourself before heading into the work week. The point of meditation isn't to shut down the mind, but to work through the things you can't control in life in order to become less reactive to all of life's -- and the Vail Valley's -- craziness. Vail Vitality Center, Vail Village, 970-476-7960

 Stop making excuses and treat yourself.

Sometimes, you've just got to book some time for yourself and splurge, and with the Vail Valley's spa selection, you've got some choices. Simply Massage is often the local's go-to spot for some "me-time," with different massage offerings and price points available for guests. The spa-chain has specially-priced packages available for anyone looking to stock up on rubdowns. Simply Massage, Avon, 970-748-1600; Vail, 970-476-7223

The spa at Manor Vail at the base of Golden Peak in Vail Village is Green Certified and uses all organic products in their treatments -- perfect for peace of mind and sensitive skin. The spa happens to be inside what CNN ranked as one of America's 20 Most Beautiful Hotels, another bonus for achieving some much needed time to unwind. Manor Vail Spa, Vail Village, 970-674-7977

If you're really looking to soak in some relaxation in one of the valley's premier spots for R&R -- and experience one of the area's most calming treatments --  book a Colorado Wild Rose Cure at the Allegria Spa at Beaver Creek's Park Hyatt. Warm lavender works to soothe the nervous system before a chamomile bath full of essential oils and flower petals caps off the experience. The whole session takes 2 hours and 15 minutes; just enough time to ease your body, and your mind, of all its troubles. $375. Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek,  970-748-7500

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