Hygge Wellness and Restorative Art

Writing contribution by Grace Lane Smith

The fact that we spend more time indoors than outdoors probably comes as a surprise to no one. It is also no surprise that time spent away from technology and moving can have huge benefits on our bodies, minds and souls.

wellness art

But just how much time do we really spend indoors? According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 87% of their time indoors, and 6% in automobiles. Canadians have similar stats, and I wonder how prevalent this is across the developed world. The study was done in 2001 but it is doubtful that much has changed for the better.

wellness art

A lack of natural light & being cooped up indoors

Are you running around busy all day from the crack of dawn to late at night? How much natural light are you taking in and truly experiencing in a restorative way? I’m thinking that even if you are pursuing your calling, living out your passion, collaborating with your dream team, there is a lot of hunching over a piece of technology involved, and not as much rejuvenating time outdoors, unplugged.

wellness art

That and the following excerpt about patient recovery offer wonderful food for thought:

wellness art

Stop right there. Did you catch that? Patients recovered much faster when they had a picture or video from nature to look at then a wall. 

But I want to ask, ‘Why wait until our 21st century lifestyles impact our health and possibly even land us in hospital?  Why not benefit from the restorative, soul-giving side of nature now – even for those who live in the city?’

Carving out a Hygge Retreat at Home

Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? Hygge seems to have taken the world by storm when Meik Wiking published his book The Little Book of Hygge. A beautifully photographed, illustrated and written book, it is based on his team’s world happiness study, and the reasons for why the Danish rank so highly in terms of “happiness”. As it turns out, hygge plays a big role in happiness. In a nutshell, hygge is all about the coziness factor, influenced by:

1. How we set up our surroundings – cozy textiles, beautiful art we connect with, soft lighting etc.
2. The actual feeling of coziness, a sense of being able to relax and be yourself in a safe environment, whether that’s with a group of trusted friends or by alone with a book watching the storm go by.

wellness art

This is good news for introverts who long for a retreat in the country but find themselves in the city. Even if you can’t fulfill your dreams of getting away to the cottage or moving to the coast (right now), you can still create your own little hygge corner at home and enjoy the same benefits.

A Deep Gratitude for the Rugged Coast

Anyone who’s lived in basements or has been cooped up indoors for long hours at a time can relate to this. I recall long winters in dingy basements with nothing but a half a rectangle of a window letting light in – half, because half was likely covered by a sheet of plastic or rotted wood. Those were depressing days and I longed to get out of suburbia to the rolling hills, open fields, forests, the beach.

I feel that I am not alone in having longed for the views of the vast sky, clean air, open spaces, and at a deeper, more intimate level, a deep sense of being alive. Now, I feel like one of the lucky ones, having been given the opportunity to move to the rugged coast of Nova Scotia.

These weekly escapes are retreats I don’t take for granted and it’s the feeling of being refreshed, a feeling of the soul having rested that I desire to capture in my paintings. I want to bring a sense of this deep rest and joy to you in a visual, tactile way.

wellness art

Gratitude Transforming Art as Purposeful Service

wellness art

After much deep pondering over the last six months, I’ve come to the conclusion that the desire of my art is for it to be a service in which I listen deeply to the yearnings of hearts of visionaries. The desire to capture the moments that take your breath away, where all the senses are engaged and uplifted and transform it in such a way that you can hang it on your walls and have it fill your entire space.

• What this means is, if you’re a busy city dweller longing to get away but can’t seem to find the time to refill your soul as much as you’d like by getting away into nature, I paint waterscapes and landscapes with you in mind. I create these pieces with the purpose of supporting you in creating your own at home oasis and to help you refresh and rest.

• For those who don’t need to bring nature into their homes because they are in a position to enjoy it around them, I create art that express the feeling of being moved by something magnificent and the moments in time when you feel most alive, like watching the most breathtaking sunset with your favourite person in the world. This is especially the case with the more abstract approach I take with some of my work. There is no need for paintings to compete with the therapeutic effects of nature, so instead the art complements the natural world around it. These paintings aim at helping you to press pause and honour the deep stirrings of the soul.

There are so many wonderful and worthwhile things to pursue – life callings and passions, making a difference in other people’s lives every day – and I know that it is what keeps you so busy, but at the end of the day, as humans, we still need time to rest and recharge to do our best work. One way to do that is to create cozy retreats in your home where you can unplug and replenish. My desire for my art is to serve you in creating a visual environment to help you rest, rejuvenate and return to what is important to you, refreshed.

About Grace.

wellness artHi everyone! I feel so honoured to be sharing my artistic journey here at Be You and Thrive with you. My art journey has been a lifelong one but the pivotal point from hobby to professional pursuit after a concussion left me reevaluating my life. The desire of my art is for it to be a service in which I listen deeply to the yearnings of hearts of visionaries. I love hearing from the online community (that’s you!) so if my story resonates with you, please get in touch as I’d love to hear your stories!

Hailing from the Maritimes of East Coast Canada,



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  1. Sam | Away She Went
    May 31, 2018, 12:01 EST

    During the work week I definitely spend most of my time inside or in a car. Now that I think about it, I get very little natural light on those days. I do have a lot of pictures and artwork of natural at home and at work, so hopefully that does help.

    • D at Be You and Thri
      May 31, 2018, 12:31 EST

      It’s amazing how much time we do spend indoors Sam! I’m with ya. I just love this restorative concept that Grace is sharing with us!

  2. Norma Shull Smith
    June 1, 2018, 11:23 EST

    It is sad that we live in a day that even preschool children spend hours on apps and little time just being that inquisitive child outside playing fun games and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. I love Grace’s wellness study and how she ties it to her artwork. Just opening the drapes and letting the sunshine into a room makes us feel better and I can see where this style of art would lift our spirits and energize us. Very interesting post on Be You and Thrive!

    • MightyD
      June 1, 2018, 6:13 EST

      I agree!! So many great things about technology and yet also takes our attention from being present….. such as being in nature. Thanks for your feedback!

    • Grace Lane-Smith
      July 2, 2018, 11:49 EST

      Hi Norma,

      Just seeing this now! I’m so glad you enjoyed my writing contribution. I absolutely agree with you – fresh air and sunshine can do heaps for a person’s wellbeing. Would you mind if I quote you on this? ‘ I love Grace’s wellness study and how she ties it to her artwork. Just opening the drapes and letting the sunshine into a room makes us feel better and I can see where this style of art would lift our spirits and energize us. ‘

      Wishing you a wonderful day, Norma!

      • norma shull smith
        July 4, 2018, 6:59 EST

        Grace, Thank you so much; I would be most honored to have you quote me. I hope you and yours is enjoying the celebration of the 4th. Blessings! Norma

  3. Nicole Hood
    June 2, 2018, 12:38 EST

    Love all the art and the message. We all do need to “unplug” and just rest, relax, and recharge!

    • MightyD
      June 2, 2018, 12:30 EST

      So glad you enjoyed Grace’s art and research. Oh the reward of ‘unplugging’!! We need to keep filling our well!!!

    • Grace Lane-Smith
      July 2, 2018, 11:52 EST

      Hi Nicole, so glad both art and message spoke to you. I agree with you – unplugging is often the best way to recharge and approach our work and goals with a calmer mind.