So, over the last few months I’ve noticed an increasing amount of discussion around this thing called Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh).
It comes from Denmark, it’s been around since the 1800s and, apparently, it’s why the Danes are amongst the happiest people in the world.
So, what is it, I hear you ask.
Well, it’s a philosophy or a way of living. There is no single word in the English language that conveys Hygge. In fact, Danish writer, Tovemaren Stakkestad said, “Hygge was never meant to be translated – it was meant to be felt.” Hygge encompasses, amongst other things, positivity, cosiness, happiness, togetherness, the appreciation of simple pleasures, being at one with nature and simplicity.
Imagine spending meaningful time with friends and family; candle-lit evenings in front of the fire eating good food and drinking mulled wine or artisan beer. Visualise your house filled with natural wood, Nordic knits, sheepskin rugs and, especially at this time of year, the scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree. Can you see in your mind’s eye how lovely that would be? That’s Hygge.
No. Hygge isn’t just about ‘things’. In fact, Hygge isn’t about ‘things’ at all because it’s a philosophy. It’s a way of living. Hygge is actually the flip-side of consumerism. You don’t have to buy lots of stuff from all the best shops. In fact, as far as Hygge goes, handmade and homemade is best. Hygge is less about buying things and more about learning to enjoy everyday experiences.
Have you ever been out with friends or sitting round the dinner table surrounded by your loved ones and everyone is chatting and laughing and discussing and you suddenly think, ‘This is what it’s all about.”? That’s Hygge.
Have you ever felt exhilarated by a walk on a cold and frosty day? You get home, you take off your scarf, your woolly hat, your cosy boots and you settle down in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate thinking “life is good.” That’s Hygge.
It’s the feeling of belonging; of being warm and cosy. It’s those times in life when everything feels just right. It isn’t forced, it just happens naturally.
And it isn’t just for Winter.
You can create the same feelings in Summer by going on picnics, taking long bike rides (the Danes love their bikes), hosting barbecues and attending festivals but I’m focusing on Winter because that where we are right now.
Hygge can be felt anywhere and at any time of the year if the right conditions are in place.
Use candles, real or artificial (remember to take care and stay safe at all times). Don’t have bright lights burning all over the place. Spend time sitting in firelight
Walk and/or cycle more. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, get out there and enjoy being in Nature. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. Exercise makes us happy and when we’re happy we’re more likely to feel positive about ourselves and our lives. Enjoy fresh air and be grateful for it
Stop denying yourself the good things in life. If you want a Danish pastry, have a Danish pastry. If you want to add a wee measure of brandy to your hot chocolate, go for it! Do what you want to do rather than what you think you should do. Be kind to yourself and others at all times.
Whenever you do something, ask yourself how you can make it more hyggelict (if that makes sense). Keep the word Hygge at the front of your mind. Do the things I’ve suggested here but also do more research online. Google Hygge and you’ll find hundreds of articles. Read up on it and look for ways to incorporate this way of living into your lifestyle. There have been plenty of books written on the subject recently. You can find some of them by clicking HERE.(AL)
Make meals from scratch. Use fresh ingredients. Make porridge. Ditch the ready meals and takeaways. Invite friends and family in to share your creations. Surround yourself with products such as wood, wool, natural foliage, sheepskin, etc.
Spend more time with people especially those who are most important to you. Embrace family life. Accept everyone for who they are. Be yourself. Live mindfully and stop worrying what other people will think. Let go of the stresses of everyday life.
Earlier today I found this great article about Hygge in the Australian Marie Claire. Their features editor decided to try living a hyggelict lifestyle for a week. The results were amazing! Find out how she got on by clicking HERE.
And finally… if you’re still not sure what Hygge is, I’m going to leave you with this.
Mr C&C, who has spent a lot of time living and working in Scandinavian countries, tells me that if someone really wants to know what Hygge is, they should think of a hug. Imagine the feeling you get from a wonderful, warm, loving, reassuring hug from your spouse, your mum, your sister, your best friend, your dog…