The Danish Art of Hygge
“You cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. You cannot hygge if you are in a hurry or stressed out, and the art of creating intimacy cannot be bought by anything but time, interest and engagement in the people around you.”
As the winter nights draw in and we adapt to the shorter and darker days in a world which seems to get busier and more hectic every day the need to sit back, relax and enjoy life’s simple pleasures has never been more needed. With stress levels on the rise around the world, the Danes have established themselves as lovers of calm and also consistently top the polls as the happiest people on earth along with other Scandinavian countries. It is often considered that Hygge may be the reason. Hygge was originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing and was developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century according to writings of the time.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gar) is a Scandinavian way of life that spreads warmth and calm. It is a concept which graces every walk of Scandinavian people’s lives, and news of the hygge way of life has been spreading quickly over the last few years across international borders to spread warmth and calm wherever the idea touches.
Hygge is a mood and a feeling rather than a specific word. The concept can be interpreted as a mental state rather than a physical one. There are countless moments that can be described as Hygge. From curling up on the sofa on your own with a good book, spending time with family or friends around a fire or the dinner table, slipping into a hot bath, to enjoying your morning coffee with a fragrant scented candle lit nearby are just some of examples of Hygge.
Hygge celebrates health and happiness and can best be defined as a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment and wellbeing.
Is now the time to introduce some Hygge into your world?
How to Hygge Your Life this Winter
Start with your environment. Create a comfortable atmosphere by softening and simplifying your home decor the hygge way. Perhaps start by designating a small area of a room as your hygge nook. Decorate in neutral colours and fill with candles. Light a fire, light up the area with twinkly lights and bring the great outdoors in by adding lush green plants in the space. Then kick back, relax with a mug of hot chocolate, a good book and appreciate your surroundings.
Hygge encourages intimacy and comfort and cosiness. Starting with leaving work at a reasonable time, avoiding multitasking and removing stressors in your life. Spend quality time with friends and family, enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Perhaps stay that much needed extra hour in bed, wear comfortable clothing, take up a new hobby – always a good idea when we are spending more time indoors and allow ourselves to slow down. And always be present; be thankful and live in the moment.