I recently became familiar with this concept and have to say I’m a little obsessed. I’m not sure if it’s because the leaves are turning, and mornings are getting cooler, but fall is officially here and I’m ready to live the hygge life.
Because one of my main coaching focuses is wellness, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas that can impact our overall sense of well-being. I’m also very aware that there is no one way to achieve well-being – what works for one person may not work for the next. I think, though, that incorporating a few hygge concepts might be a great addition to any wellness plan.
If you haven’t head of hygge and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, hygge is a lifestyle trend that has become popular over the last couple years. Hygge is a way of life in Denmark and the word itself (pronounced hue-guh) is used to describe a feeling of being cozy and content, comfortable. It’s savoring the ordinary moments, making them special, delightful, like wrapping up in a blanket on a snowy day with a good book, and your favorite cup of tea. It’s enjoying life’s simpler pleasures and being in the moment.
Hygge was one of the top home décor trends of 2017, but it goes beyond being the latest thing. For Danes, it’s a way of life and it’s been catching on for a while both in Europe and the U.S.
You can be hygge alone or with family and friends. Enjoying time with loved ones is absolutely encouraged, whether that’s bundling up for a long autumn hike, or spending time in conversation with a cup of cocoa before the fire. Togetherness is key to being hygge.
The idea of hygge isn’t complicated and doesn’t require running out to the store to buy a bunch of hygge stuff. It’s really about simplicity and creating a calm, cozy feeling, none of which requires more stuff. What it does require is being present and enjoying the moment.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, says that “hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things.” When you consider that Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries on the planet, they just might be on to something.
If you’re ready to try a bit of the hygge life yourself, here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Slow down and pay attention. Threaded throughout this idea of hygge living is mindfulness, the idea of taking time to pay attention in the present, to notice and appreciate what we are doing, our surroundings, who we are with. Savoring life’s pleasures and special moments is essential to hygge.
- Simplicity. It’s become all too common in our Type A culture to spend our time in FOMO (fear of missing out), and thus dashing from one activity to the next in the interest of keeping up with – what? What everyone else seems to be doing? What we think is necessary to stay in the loop? Be competitive? Look good? (I’ve been guilty of all of these at one time or another….) Hygge living asks us to look to the simpler side of life – our life – and ask ourselves what brings us joy, and then do that. Maybe an afternoon spent reading a page-turning novel in your old rocking chair is what your soul needs most. And allowing yourself to do that.
- Candles. Candles are big-time hygge which makes this is an easy one for me. Candles set a tone, a mood, and fill the environment with calm. A lovely fragrance is a bonus.
- What to Wear. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe to be hygge. In fact, if you live in a cooler climate, you probably already have everything you need. Sweaters, scarves, a nice pair of wool socks, jeans or leggings and you’re all set. Even sweats can be hygge. Casual (but not sloppy) is the way to go.
- Home Life. Home is central to hygge living. A whopping 71% of Danes say that they experience most of their hygge at home. Danes love their homes; in fact, home is where most of their socializing occurs, family and friends being a main focus of life. Think comfy chairs, pillows, throw blankets, wood. And, most definitely, a fireplace. Another essential to hygge life at home is what is called a hyggekrog , which translates to a nook, a comfortable corner or small space where one can curl up with a book, a cup of tea, and a blanket. Don’t forget the candle.
Hygge living isn’t just for fall and winter. It’s meant to be lived year-round. The basic concepts of simplicity, enjoying life’s pleasures, nature, and togetherness are always there – they may just look different in warmer seasons. A picnic in the park instead of snow shoeing or sledding. Things like gratitude, appreciating nature, and savoring a good meal aren’t seasonal – these can be practiced any time of year.
For me, though, since fall is now upon us, I’m going with the candles and warm socks.
If you’re interest in learning more about hygge, check out my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/sylevy/the-art-of-hygge-living/ Also, The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is a fun read and a great resource for all things hygge!