Have you heard of “hygge” yet? It seems like every time I turn around, I see another book or an article about it! My innate curiosity lead me to doing some research about this Danish buzzword and what it really means. I ended up finding the concept of hygge so fascinating that I decided I would share it with you all today! It also felt like a great way to honor my own Danish heritage (though you don’t have to be Danish or even Scandinavian to embrace hygge life!)
What Is Hygge?
“Hygge” (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is a Danish word that describes a feeling of coziness and contentment. To embrace hygge is to foster a sense of well-being, warmth, home, safety, and belonging. This small word holds a lot of meaning to the Danes, who view hygge as an important part of their national identity.
According to the European Social Survey, Danish people report the highest levels of wellbeing in all of Europe. And I have no doubt that hygge plays a part in that sense of wellbeing! But the good news is that you don’t have to be Danish to embrace hygge in your own life. Here are 6 simple things you can do to embrace the spirit of hygge this winter!
6 Easy Ways To Embrace Hygge
Having the right lighting is an important part of hygge. The lower and warmer your light sources are, the better! Use candles, a roaring fire, or even fairy lights to set a really cosy mood at home. (And yes, LED candles can count too!)
2. Hyggebukser (Cosy Pants)
Good news for those who wear sweats or yoga pants as often as possible—cosy, comfortable pants are very hygge. Throw on a pair of wool socks too to complete the look!
3. Comfort Foods
Make it a point to indulge in foods that feel cosy and comforting to you. Whether you’d rather have a cup of hot cocoa, a warm pastry, or a fresh cup of coffee, take the time to enjoy it! Get bonus points by enjoying your indulgent treat with a friend or family member.
4. Hyggekrog (Cosy Nook)
Find the most relaxing spot in your house and make it your own! Make it extra cosy with cushions, blankets, candles, and anything else that makes you feel warm, safe, and happy.
5. Natural Materials
Bringing nature indoors through the use of natural materials is a very Scandinavian design principle, and a big part of hygge too! Seek out furniture and decor made of wood, cotton, furs, leafy plants, and more.
Taking a moment to curl up with a book is very hyggelig (meaning hygge-y or hygge-like). When in doubt, you can never go wrong with classic works by authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, etc.
While the things I listed above contribute to hygge, there are also things that can detract from it. Avoid these 5 behaviors this winter to further embrace hygge!
5 Things That AREN’T Hygge
1. Staring At Your Phone
Mindlessly scrolling through your phone while Netflix plays in the background doesn’t count as hygge. Instead, have some friends over to watch a movie, since hygge is all about togetherness!
2. Hibernating All Winter
Sure, a big part of hygge is enjoying the cosy indoors, but it’s equally important to spend time outdoors! Throw on your puffiest coats and your snow boots, and go “walking in a winter wonderland!” Invite a friend along on your walk, and go check out some of the lovely Christmas light displays in your neighborhood.
3. Buying Tons Of Stuff
There are certain items that help cultivate a feeling of hygge in your home (like candles, blankets, etc.) But at its core, hygge is all about simplicity and enjoying the things you already have. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything, but it’s a good idea to be mindful of your spending on hygge items or even holiday gifts. Keep it simple!
4. Stressing About Socializing
Everything requires balance, even the time you spend socializing with family and friends. Make sure to make time for yourself this winter. Whether you find comfort and solace in crafting, reading, or watching movies, it’s important to take that time for yourself! It’s good for the soul, and very hygge.
5. Heated Conversations
You may not agree with your relatives or friends when it comes to politics or religion, and that’s fine! But when you spend time with them this winter, try to leave your differences at the door. Wintertime can be stressful enough without adding debates and arguments into the equation. Instead, focus on bonding, reminiscing, and finding common ground when you’re spending time with loved ones in the coming weeks.
Give The Gift Of Hygge!
While I was researching for this post, I learned a lot by reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It’s a quick read, and I think it would make a wonderful gift for just about anyone!
Box up a copy of this book along with a candle, some tea or cocoa, and a pair of warm and cosy socks. This little hygge “starter kit” is sure to be cherished and appreciated!
What are some of the ways you already embrace hygge during the wintertime?