Take a break from your New-Year-prompted Marie Kondo-ing to bring some awareness to a different aspect of your home: The comfort factor. This is the essence of Hygge (pronounced, hoo-guh), which translates to, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Which, yes – it makes sense why this phenomenon has held fast so long. We all could use more of this, like, all the time, right?
The word Hygge is thought to stem from the Old Norse word hugr, which later became the ‘hug’ which goes deeper than a hug as we know it, and encompasses the soul, mind, and consciousness. Hygge sums up the soul-hugging vibe that permeates the very happy Nordic cultures, where people place a big focus on enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Things like, having coffee, being with people you love, going for a walk. The parts of life that we, in Canada, often have to remind ourselves to savour.
The health-boosting impact of savouring the moment is real, though. Just ask Danish doctors, which apparently even recommend “tea and hygge” as a cure for colds. So if you’re reading this from your couch, wrapped in a blanket and quaking from the effects of your cold-meds, or, you’re just sick of worrying about the office / bus / city compromising your health, then maybe a little Hygge would do you good about now.
And, no matter how much joy your possessions may spark, the quality of comfort in your life is really what well-being is all about, at the end of the day, right? Here are some ways to incorporate Hygge into your lifestyle now.
More inviting textures. Everywhere. Think: Blankets, pillows, throws, all the cozy accessories. The more welcoming the surfaces in your home, the more intimate and inviting it will feel. Ditch stiff pillows and mats and rugs and scratchy tablecloths (and while you’re at it, clothing. Hygge life extends to your wardrobe!) The more cozy your entire space, the more it will feel like a hug for your soul.
Get creative with your lighting. Your home should not be an atmosphere that sends your brain into high-alert mode. Harsh fluorescent lighting is brutal and actually can drain you. We all spend enough time looking into screens for the ambient light in our home to add more stress to our peepers. Get a light dimmer, some gentle lamps, and candles (apparently Danes burn 13 pounds of candle wax a year per capita – which is way more than any other country in the world.) So, candle-lovers, keep doing your thing.
Create a designated space for enjoying the moment. Hygge is ultimately all about slowing down. Make your home conducive to it by creating a space for it. Maybe it’s a yoga or meditation area that could work for you. Or, maybe you would like a reading spot. Or a tea-sipping space. Or, a joint-smoking space. Set yourself up so you can comfortably savour the simplicity of an activity you love at home.
Make space in your kitchen. For enjoying cooking, eating, and being with others. It’s all about community and intimacy, with Hygge, and the kitchen is the heart of a home. Open it on up! Food is one of life’s most basic, simple pleasures – your kitchen should ideally remind you of that. So you’re still using the Dollarstore plates and glasses you used college, splurge on some kitchenware that makes you want to use it. Check out the kitchen & dining selection at the gorgeous Hygge Life, for some serious kitchen inspo.
Take tea and coffee even more seriously. A coffee or tea ritual is – even for the most coffee-addicted, rushed, distracted human, one of the most enjoyable parts of the day. In Sweden, the ritual of having coffee and a sweet is called Fika. It’s all about slowing down and simply enjoying coffee. So swap your daily 7-Eleven joe for a morning routine of making coffee, sitting down, and drinking it. With a biscotti. Yes, on a Tuesday. Because Hygge.
Get a wall calendar. Fill it with social events you’re genuinely excited about, so you can see them coming up, and look forward to them. Being with friends and loved ones is a top priority in Hygge life. Especially in winter when it becomes easy to isolate ourselves, make a point to surround yourself with people you love, and fika together, etc.
Get a journal. Reflection and contemplation on the page can be incredibly gratifying. Anything that allows you to savour your life and simplify it at the same time will boost your well-being. Bullet journalling can be an addictive activity for some, or, maybe a gratitude journal feels interesting to you. What you focus on grows, hence, journalling about your gratitude can have a big effect on how often you say thank you and mean it.
Up your bedroom sanctuary game. We spend one third of our lives in bed. Make sure that at least that one third is spent being cozy af. Your bedroom is ideally the place where you feel the most cozy, safe, and restful, so make you it a place you want to be. Get those nice sheets, cozy PJs, that pre-bed strain you love. Whatever makes you want to melt into a delicious sleep.
Go green. What’s good for the environment is good for you. The more connected you allow yourself to feel to the earth, the more sustainable you make your lifestyle, the more at home here you’ll feel. Green initiatives like wind power and green roofs and spaces are the norm in Denmark, and these are absolutely related to the population’s high morale. Make sustainable choices the norm in your own life, in whatever ways you can.