We’re often told that the Danes are considered to be the happiest people on the planet. It could be something to do with their great health facilities, excellent social care, and overall high life expectancy. But I suspect it’s also because the Danes have something that many of us don’t have. They have the notion of Hygge…
What is Hygge?
You may have already come across Hygge (pronounced “hue-guh”) – it’s been dancing around the edge of UK mainstream culture for a while now. There’s no English word to sum-up hygge, but roughly translated it means “cosiness”.
It’s a way of life that embraces the idea of going slow in the winter-time, looking after yourself and celebrating community. It’s about embracing cold, dark winter months by creating a cosy atmosphere, enjoying winter rituals (like taking a hot water bottle to bed) and savouring life’s small comforts.
It’s an idea that I love (who doesn’t love curling-up in front of a log fire with a hot chocolate and a favourite book?) and its something that I’d like to pursue within my own home this winter. So I’ve been looking at ways to build a Hygge home. And in case you wanted to bring a bit of Danish hygge to your home, here are a few ideas I discovered.
How to Hygge Your Home
Slow it down
Get yourself off Facebook, put your phone down and switch-off the TV. Hygge is all about enjoying the moment and taking it slow. It’s a chance to take stock and escape the fast-paced world of technology, work and social media distractions.
Take some time to pick-up that novel you always meant to read, or curl up on the sofa with a magazine. Pop some corn and play a board game with the family. Or just sit in front of the fire, stroking the cat (if I had an open fire or a cat, I would definitely be doing this!)
Life slows down in winter, and it’s the perfect time to stop and savour those little things that bring warmth to the soul, whatever that may be for you.
When I think about Hygge, one of the first things that springs to mind is sitting in front of a log burner with a glass of wine. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a log burner in my life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t create a cosy atmosphere in my home. Soft lighting, candles, warm blankets, the right music and a hot drink are all you need to bring a bit of that Hygge cosiness into your life.
Create a Hygge hideaway
Find a space to make into your own special sanctuary. It can be difficult in a house full of people, but it doesn’t need to be particularly lavish. Perhaps the corner of your bedroom, a quiet window seat, or for me, it’s the bathroom. You can just lock the door, light some candles, sink into a warm bath and… relax…
You can use soft furnishings and accessories to make your Hygge hideaway an inviting, comfortable place to be. A favourite piece of artwork, a pleasing pot plant, a few candles or a comfy nest of cushions can all make a simple space special – you could try some of these hygge home décor tips for inspiration.
Celebrate friends and family
Some people refer to Hygge as the “art of creating intimacy”, be that with yourself, your family or your friends. The cold, dark days of winter are a perfect opportunity to enjoy cosy nights in with friends, or a home cooked meal with the family. Hygge is about noticing these relationships and intimacies that bring us pleasure and making them a central part of your day: something to look forward to, to enjoy and to lift the spirits.
For me, a stressful meal with Small at the dinner table doesn’t really conjure up feelings of contentment. So a homecooked family meal isn’t necessarily my go-to Hygge place. But once we’re all fed and just enjoying family time, with the husband playing with the kids play and I flick through a magazine – that’s my hygge moment!
At the end of the day, Hygge is a feeling. It’s a certain slowness and the ability to recognise and enjoy the present. You don’t need to buy anything or do anything in particular. Just savour the nice things about winter and enjoy those little rituals that bring you contentment in life.
Be aware of the good moment.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.