A Photo Collage Guide to the Comforts of Hygge
Think back to the best holiday meal and day you’ve ever experienced. Remember the smell and taste of your favourite foods, the fun you had playing charades or cards, the glowing candles or roaring fire that added a delicious coziness to your home. Now imagine living so you feel that happy and comfortable every day. That’s hygge.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word that translates very roughly to coziness. It involves creating both a hyggeligt (hygge-like) atmosphere in your home, and nurturing a hygge mindset focused on wellbeing and togetherness.
Hygge was initially a response to the long, dark, Danish winters. Now it’s practiced year round, although there’s still an extra emphasis on hygge when it is cold outside.
How to Create a Hyggeligt Atmosphere
A hyggeligt atmosphere includes as many elements from the natural world as possible. Think of walls painted in warm tones, hardwood floors, a stone or brick feature wall, furniture with wood or leather. A natural environment also includes plants, and maybe a pet or two!
If fire’s an option, that’s the best. If not, the goal is warm light that mimics fire’s natural glow. As you might expect, given their 17 hour winter nights, Denmark is one of the world’s largest consumers of candles. Click here for a post about the top three benefits of burning candles, and how to choose the perfect candle.
Table lamps and fairy lights also work. Use varying sizes and styles of lamps with warm, yellow bulbs rather than bright white ones. Dimmer switches on the lamps provide extra flexibility.
Coziness requires soft comfortable furniture where you can lounge while you read a good book, stare into a candle flame, or listen to music. Extra points if the knitted or crocheted afghan has special meaning to you.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.Norwegian proverb
Cozy hyggeligt clothing is anything that feels great against your skin and keeps you warm. Consider woolly sweaters, scarves, flannel shirts, big socks, fluffy slippers, winter boots, silk underwear….
How to Nurture Your Hygge Mindset
A hygge mindset is about simple pleasures that connect us with people we love–board games, card games, a dinner with friends. It is also about taking the time to enjoy activities that we find personally relaxing such as reading a good book, making art, colouring in an adult colouring book, or playing music.
Some simple pleasures that are really appealing deserve a regular place in your week or day. A hot bath is beneficial to both body and soul. It is always a good idea to buy yourself flowers; to make a cup of your favourite tea, or enjoy a coffee break with someone special.
The hygge mindset includes slowing down and taking your time. When it comes to food, that means using fresh, local produce, and slow cooking hearty soups and stews. Meals are expressions of love as well as nourishment for family and friends.
But don’t worry that hygge is only about clean eating. Delicious hot drinks, pastries and coffee cake, and chocolate in all of its forms are all considered beneficial and have a place in the hygge lifestyle.
How to Incorporate More Hygge into Your Winter
Hygge is a feeling. If you feel safe, happy, and cozy, you are living hygge. If you don’t, you aren’t. It’s that individual and that simple. There are no hard and fast rules. However, if you feel that you are running on a neverending treadmill and that you’re as far from cozy contentment as you can be, here are six ideas that might help:
- Choose just one of the mindset suggestions above, and do it. If you’re having trouble slowing down, changing your atmosphere first becomes just another item to add to your to-do list. Changing your mindset, perhaps by incorporating a soothing routine into your weekly schedule, will provide faster relief.
- Light some candles an hour or so before going to bed. Use that action as the time you also shut down your phone, internet connection, and television.
- Observe yourself to determine what you truly enjoy and what you don’t. If, for example, you love to play Scrabble or assemble jigsaw puzzles, but detest the holiday baking that everyone expects of you, cut back or cut out the holiday baking and haul out that game board or puzzle. Remind yourself that if you aren’t happy, it’s not hygge!
- Choose to be grateful. Focus on what you have, and on the experiences and people that are valuable and important to you.
- Be a little kinder to yourself and everyone else. Avoid self-criticism, judgments of others, and any discussions of negative news stories.
- In the immortal words of yogi Ram Dass, “Be here, now.” Rather than rushing through your to-do lists, try to squeeze the juice from every moment. Live deliberately.
For more ideas and photos, check out my Pinterest board.
I’m really looking forward to my hyggeligt winter. How about you? What appeals to you about hygge?