hygge | a state of coziness that creates contentment
and a positive overall well-being.
Hygge (pronounced hue-ga) is a Danish word that in-and-of-itself is not definable because it’s not a concrete term, but rather a description of a cozy and an intentional state-of-being. Hygge has become on trend these last few years – especially here in the U.S., and it’s quite possible you’ve experienced it without even realizing it. It really comes down to how you feel when you enjoy the simple things in life…and most importantly, when you experience them with others.
It could be wearing your favorite fuzzy socks, wrapped in a blanket, with the window cracked listening to the rain.
It could be you carving out the time to meet up with a friend over coffee to catch up.
Hygge is so important to the Danish people that it is a “defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA,” according to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. It’s truly no wonder that Denmark is recorded as having the happiest people…in the world…despite having the highest taxes. It can be said that the reason they’re so happy is because hygge provides them the opportunity to buffer themselves against everyday stress, maintain healthy and meaningful relationships, thus collectively supporting one another through government and paying taxes that support things like healthcare, education, etc. Go figure…when you have a well-functioning society people are just plain happier.
Achieving your own state of hygge.
Real hygge is enjoyment without ambition, a contented celebration of what you already have. Hygge means you’re together with people you already know and like, so there is no one you need to impress. If you’re trying to show off how well you hygge, you’re doing it wrong.Kay Xander Mellish – Author of How to Live in Denmark
Keep in mind, you don’t need to read a bunch of books on hygge or fall into the pit of hygge related things to cultivate it in your home. It’s all about being connected with one another. So in efforts to spread some hygge in 2020 here are 3 things you can enjoy today:
one | connect with others
This is the most essential part of experiencing hygge. Create an inviting and welcoming home for others – whether they be friends, family, a book club, or small group. Hygge is created and extended when your home is the epicenter of coziness, fun, great conversation, and laughter. Some ideas to get you started include:
- a dinner party or potluck just because!
- have a game night – bring the kids!
- invite your friends or neighbors for an outdoor movie night by projecting onto a white sheet
- blind wine tasting party or ‘wine down’ gathering at the end of the week.
- a murder mystery dinner
- dedicate a get-together at least once a month with friends you haven’t seen in a while
- open your home to visiting friends or family for the weekend
- go to a sip and paint night with friends
- have a favorite show everyone watches? Have a watch party!
two | enjoy the little things
Like when your husband and son match…
But really, this one is a little more vague simply because for everyone it can take a variety of forms. But, indeed, that’s the fun of it! Opportunities for the enjoyment of the little things happens all around us, we just need to slow down enough to notice them. It’s hard to do in our society because we’re, unfortunately, in a fast-paced, need to be ahead of the next person state of mind most of the time. However, adopting a hygge lifestyle, in a lot of ways, goes against the American grain of the hustle. In fact, it’s about slowing down enough to notice the little things we do enjoy.
I recommend evaluating where you’re spending your time:
- clear your overwhelming schedule and get rid of the obligations that don’t bring you joy.
- stop all the rule following! Whether it’s your diet, how tidy your house is, or clocking the miles to and from your kids’ after school activities. So often we hold ourselves to such high standards or firm rules that we feel disappointed or a sense of failure when we don’t have the energy to keep up.
Then, I recommend using that newfound time doing something you enjoy, like:
- go for a walk or ride your bike. Seriously. Get outside and enjoy what your community or neighborhood has to offer. It’s free and it’s something your family can easily enjoy with you.
- have a game night once a week…or month. Get the family away from the TV or devices and in communion with each other.
- enjoy cooking or baking a new recipe! Food always brings people together and taking the time to try something new is always exciting. Easily bring the kids on it, too!
- sit down and write handwritten snail mail to friends and family. You’d be surprised how this little gesture will brighten someones day. A message to someone that wasn’t an email or text.
- take a class of some kind and learn something new! It could be a new language, knitting, cooking, scrapbooking, brewing, flower arranging, etc.! Whatever you’ve been curious about…don’t be afraid to try it!
three | create a hygge home
Last, it’s all about creating an environment within your home that makes you (and your family) excited to spend time. Keep in mind, it’s not about finding the most expensive Scandinavian furniture or throw blanket. Rather, it’s about living simply (see my post on minimalism here) and intentionally. This is also a place you’ll want to gather with people you love being around, so don’t worry about impressing them, it’s all about sharing the warmth and coziness that you’ve created!
- light candles with neutral scents (step away from the Bath & Body Works plug ins!) or use an essential oils diffuser.
- invest in seating options that are intentional like sectionals or plushes that can double as chairs for when you have guests.
- commune in the kitchen, living room, or patio spaces! Create an open gathering space that is free of clutter or furniture.
- find a hygge music station or stream something comforting instead of watching TV.
- light a fireplace if you have one! If not, get creative with space heaters or throw blankets during the colder months.
Linking up with Michelle.