Vikings, fairytales, Legos (r), bacon, beer, cheese and a myriad other wonderful things come from Denmark, but have you heard of this lifestyle import? It’s hygge (hyoo-guh).
Hygge has no exact translation. Although experts equate it with a sense of well-being and coziness, it is so much more. Hygge is a lifestyle approach kind of like Feng Shui. Unlike Feng Shui, however, hygge is focused on creating a warm atmosphere where you can indulge in life’s small pleasures with friends and family.
To get a better sense of what it is, and to conjure up hygge in your own heart and mind, try this exercise:
Remember your best family holiday. Sense the emotional warmth and happiness of being surrounded by people you love and who love you. Feel the actual warmth of a roaring fire and a candlelit table. Smell the scents of pumpkin spice and remember the tastes of your favorite dishes, of indulgent and delicious foods. Let the gratitude of it all fill you up.
Got it? That’s hygge.
Get More Hygge
Capturing and condensing those feelings into meaningful moments throughout your day is what the Danes call hygge. And their daily quest for hygge may be the reason they are some of the happiest folks on Earth despite the long, cold and dark winters in their part of the world.
So, how can you get more hygge into your life? Focus on comfort, contentment, and community – and not just in your home, but wherever you spend time.
Here are a few more tips on how you can get more hygge in your home, your office, and your small part of the world.
Hygge at Home
Create a sanctuary. In your house, create a cozy nook for yourself. Include a fluffy afghan or a shearling throw and a few overstuffed pillows. Add a few candles and incense. Dim the overhead lights (or keep them off!). Make yourself a cup of decadent hot chocolate, whipped cream and all. Then settle in and relax with your latest good read.
Try game night or a pot-luck meal. Invite a few of your favorite people over for a low tech evening of cards or board games. Experiment with the lighting in your space to keep things casual and intimate but not too dark. Try lighting your space with all flicker candles. (Hint: Battery powered candles prevent accidents and allay unnecessary anxiety.) Serve hot mulled wine and a sumptuous cheese and fruit platter. Ask your friends to bring bite-sized versions of their best-loved desserts. Connect and share happy memories. Remember, these informal get-togethers are about connecting with friends; they are not about impressing anyone with your culinary skills or how clean and well-furnished your home is.
Hygge at Work
As we look to incorporate more comfort into our lives, why limit that to just our homes, stopping at the front door? Extend these practices to other areas of your life – like the office. Certainly there may be constraints on how you may decorate your cube or workstation. So, instead, focus on the small moments throughout your day.
Turn a coffee break into something extraordinary. Take a real break. Step away from your desk and all of your devices for a few minutes. If you can, invite a colleague out for coffee or make hot drinks in your office kitchen and enjoy them by a sunlit window. Take that time for yourself, savor the moment, and connect with another person. Share a few special chocolates from your favorite chocolatier. Adopting habits like this, that put your self-care at the center, wherever you are, is hygge too.
If you think that sounds great, but you’re stuck for time and can’t leave the building and the office coffee is nothing to savor. Fear not, you can have hygge without any treats, just good conversation!
For a quick escape, make this chai tea latte to share: Brew a cup of chai tea using 2 chai tea bags in 1 mugful of water. In a second cup, microwave 1 mugful of milk (lower fat versions actually work best for some reason) to nearly boiling. Add one marshmallow to the bottom of 2 mugs. Then, pour the hot milk over the marshmallow – half in each cup. Then add the hot tea, dividing it across the 2 mugs. The concoction is slightly sweet and foamy from the marshmallow and hot milk. Sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon and serve. Instant hygge!
Hygge at Play
But don’t stop there! Bring hygge everywhere you go! Plan a hike with your bestie. Get outside. Wrap yourself up in your warm woollies: hat, scarf, sweater and mittens, if the weather calls for them. Scout out a trail with scenic views or colorful vistas and take it all in. Pack a picnic with special treats or bring along some homemade trail mix and a thermos of warm apple cider. This is hygge too!
Hygge Is The Hug You Need Now
Take care of yourself and take pride in your home, office and other surroundings.
The goal to achieve hygge is not perfection, but connection. Creating community and injecting meaning into even the smallest moments can do wonders for your spirit and your mood. You’ll be amazed at how happy and grateful you feel.
In our fast-paced, high tech, health-obsessed, stressed-out world, we could all use some hygge. It’s like a big, warm, fuzzy, foamy latte hug!
*Original version of this blog was published on sharpheels.com