Check It Out: Take Care

Submitted by J. Johnston on Wed, 03/09/2022 - 09:12

Taking a look back at columns I’ve written during the month of March, I came across my 2017 review of “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking. It struck a chord with me because at this moment I can’t remember a more stressful time in my life. The pandemic, which I truly hope is easing, has been a constant, unwelcome companion for over two years now; the recent attacks on Ukraine by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, are incredibly scary and troubling; and last month I lost my mom. Is my stress load high? Yes.

But I need to find ways to combat the worries and fears that threaten to overwhelm me, and I suspect that I am not alone in feeling this way. Embracing the practice of hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”) is one way to bring calm into one’s environment. Defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,” hygge has traveled far beyond the borders of Denmark, inspiring similar philosophies from other countries including ikigai from Japan and lagom from Sweden.

It might feel like the term “self-care” has been overused during the past couple of years, but I believe it’s important to recognize how important it is. Many things feel out of our control, so my words of advice are this: be gentle with yourself. There are ways to reduce anxiety through the power of books, and I want to offer a small sampling of titles. Whether this means practicing yoga, journaling, caring for plants, or learning how to have family conversations about stressful subjects, please consider visiting your local library for titles on these topics and much, much more.

New at the Library




This is just a small sampling of the many new titles added each week to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District collection. Find more in our catalog, or call (360) 906-5000 to reserve titles or find additional listings.

Jan Johnston, Collection Manager
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

You can email Jan at

The "Check It Out" column is normally published every Sunday in The Columbian newspaper.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.