Ever wondered what Hygge is all about? We did too. We investigated, and following are our thoughts on hygge and why it should be a part of your life.
All year long, life is hectic and stressful. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and focus on “just getting through.” This attitude saps the joy out of living and when the dark, cold months arrive, many people battle seasonal depression or other mood concerns. It’s well known that meditation can help with stress management and elevate your mood. Meditation helps with being mindful and literally rewires your brain. Knowing that makes the concept of hygge (pronounced hue-guh or hoo-gha) that much more incredible. Hygge is basically mindfulness and being present – yet much more, too.
What is Hygge?
The Danish came up with the concept of hygge to help them cope with the long, cold, dark winters. Essentially, it refers to a feeling of joy. It’s about acknowledging the moment – any moment and every moment – as something special and creating a ritual of joy and presence around it. Take, for example, your morning cup of coffee. In Denmark, the morning cuppa isn’t just a brew that’s slugged down during the morning commute in hopes of being alert enough for that morning meeting. Instead, it’s a precious moment where candles are lit and coffee adds comfort and contentment to the day. (Notice how different that feels already! A far less stressful start to the day – and that moment of peace will carry you though a lot of stress.)
Another way to look at it is that hygge is making your life a form of art, rather than a drudgery that requires you to take periodic vacations. Daily, weekly, and monthly rituals help do this. The key is that they should bring joy and comfort. A sense of coziness. They can include others, and often will, as hygge is about creating a sense of belonging. However, hygge is also about creating and living a life that brings you joy and makes you feel cozy, so there does not always need to be other people.
How to Incorporate Hygge into Your Life
Given that the basic idea of hygge is to be mindful and find joy in the small moments, the ways you can do this in your life are endless. One idea is the morning cup of coffee noted above. On a larger scale, the way you set up and decorate your home can also be part of hygge. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars or hire a decorator. Instead of aiming for the perfect Good Housekeeping appearance, arrange your furniture, pictures, etc. in ways that make you smile. The goal is to walk into each room of your house and feel happy, cozy – and for your guests to feel welcomed.
Clothes too can be part of living the hygge life. Sure, you have to wear a suit, tie, or other professional garb to work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t bring you joy also. Again, it’s not about spending money you’ve got allocated elsewhere. It’s about finding happiness. If that crazy tie your kid gave you on Father’s Day makes you smile even though it clashes with everything, wear it anyway. If those cheapo heals from Target are also the most comfortable pair of shoes you own, wear them. Who cares that they’re not the perfect pair for your dress or pants that day. If it brings you joy and makes you cozy – do it.
Hygge is also about food. Homemade soup, picnics in the park with your family and friends, hot cocoa, tea, etc. Yes, even salad! It doesn’t have to be traditional comfort food to become part of your hygge life. It does have to help you connect with YOUR joy.
What You May Have to Give Up in Your Hygge Life (At Least a Little)
Notice what we haven’t talked about? Yeah, technology. Curling up in cozy sweatpants and a sweater to watch TV by the fire? That’s definitely hygge. Staring at your Facebook newsfeed or spending hours lost in your phone or other devices – not hygge. Even if you love your technology and think it brings you joy, there’s an essential vibe missing there. There’s no coziness, no connection with the simple pleasures in life – and that’s what hygge is all about it. So while the technology is necessary sometimes, it’s also necessary to put it away for a while to create some truly hygge moments.
We recommend The Little Book of Hygge for further reading and inspiration.