My Danish friends introduced me to the concept of “hygge” (pronounced something along the lines of “hoo-guh”) seven years ago. I fell in love with the concept immediately after they explained it to me. Originating in Denmark, hygge has no perfect English translation. It is described as a feeling, or an experience. It is about cultivating an atmosphere of coziness. It is about having a safe haven from which to hide from the stresses of life. I can guess that you, my fellow Westerners, fully understand these life stresses. Our society is ravaged by busy-ness and consumed by work, activities, and tasks. If you’re anything like me, you need some hygge in your life. Read on to find some tips and tricks to fostering that cozy, hygge feeling.
When I asked my Danish friend to describe hygge to me, the first thing she said was “candles”. Candles have a trick of flickering restful beams around a room. I know that as soon as I light my candles, I start to feel more inspired. Maybe I equate the intentional action of lighting a candle with self-care. There’s something about those little flames that makes me feel safe, relaxed, and like I’d rather pick up a book than pick up my phone.
The rest of your surroundings, too, make a big difference to your hygge atmosphere. Twinkly lights and lamps are a must. Turn off that bright overhead lighting, turn on some lamps, and watch the spirit of cozy enter your surroundings. The rest of your décor, my friends, is up to you. What makes you feel relaxed? Photography hanging from your walls? Giant pillows and fuzzy blankets? An overstocked bookshelf? A tea collection? Curate your space to reflect who you are and what you enjoy.
Hygge is all about comfort, and what you are wearing dictates how comfortable you are. There’s nothing like creating the perfect cozy outfit. Pull on your comfy socks, climb into some leggings or sweats, or wrap yourself in a big blanket. I always find that changing out of my work clothes into my comfy clothes gets me ready to intentionally relax. If I don’t change, I end up sitting on the couch with sleepy eyes taking Buzzfeed quiz after Buzzfeed quiz. Let me tell you, those quizzes don’t totally rejuvenate my soul like a good pair of sweatpants and a riveting book does.
Lastly, hygge is not about things. It is about intention. It is about spending time with others and really spending time with others. It is about noticing the heat from the hearth and the smiles on your friends faces. Every Dane will tell you that hygge is about enjoying good company, about enjoying life as it is. I think this is why the concept is so attractive to us Westerners. Hygge is about having a cozy intentionality about life that makes life enjoyable. So, will you join me in fostering hygge in our crazy lives? I think we need it.
Alexandra, Hunni’s Langley