Hygge. It’s a word that’s been found in magazine articles, book titles, and as a descriptor for all kinds of products. It has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy” to “coziness of the soul” to “cocoa by candlelight.” But what really is this word, that is pronounced hoog-uh? Hygge is a Danish word that describes a feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple pleasures, such as being wrapped in a soft blanket, having a candlelit conversation or supper with a loved one, savoring delicious food, listening to rain fall on the roof.
Hygge is, in essence, about taking time away from the daily rush of life to be together with people you care about—or by yourself—to relax and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. It is about being mindful and present. And it is an opportunity to unwind and taking things at a slower pace.
Hygge is important always, but so much more right now as we head into the holiday season and get caught up in busyness, not-enough-ness, and stress. We can stop with our friends or family members and breathe. Share a meal and a glass or wine (or mulled wine called glogg in Denmark at the holidays), beer, or cup of hot chocolate.
Finding a way to create feelings of hygge in your life is part of what we, at Whole Champion, call personal responsibility. And Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, told Self. “The true essence of hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and it’s basically like a hug, just without the physical touch.”
20 Ways to Bring More Hygge Into Your Life (at little to no cost)
- Use warm white colors on your walls, in your pillows and sheets and blankets. Egill Thorkelsson, Managing Director of Benjamin-Moore Island Iceland, says, “White, earthy off-whites, and greige colors are very popular given the minimal light of the northern regions.” You can also add steely blue to this color palette.
- Add candles and candlelight to any room.
- Wrap yourself in an oversized scarf.
- Keep soft blankets on your sofa and bed.
- Invest in super soft and warm socks…and wear them.
- Wear a sweater or sweatshirt that feels like a hug.
- Make sure you have enough time for everything in your life that day so you don’t have to hurry.
- Indulge yourself by wearing leggings or sweatpants or joggers or flannel PJ bottoms: wear your most comfortable bottoms with that sweater or sweatshirt and socks. (Danes call this pair of pants Hyggebukser as it is usually a pants you wouldn’t be caught wearing in public.)
- Drink a warm beverage, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
- Give yourself a break from healthy eating, counting calories, or whatever you normally do for one day. Feel free to bake whatever you want and savor it.
- Eat a hearty stew or a filling soup.
- Cuddle up with someone or a pet and watch a movie while sharing popcorn.
- Curl into your blanket and read a good book.
- Create a nook for yourself somewhere in your living space with soft pillows and a blanket and soft lighting (and don’t forget to add a candle or two). This can be in a window seat or even on a chair or sofa.
- Ignore your phone and electronics for the day.
- If you live near a beach and are permitted, create a bonfire with your friends.
- Picnic in a park with your family and spread out the blanket, the content from your basket, and board games and enjoy the time in nature and doing things a bit “old school”.
- Bundle up, if you live somewhere chilly and go for a long walk with a loved one.
- Appreciate all of the things and people in your life. And take a few moments to express that gratitude, to those people and to God or the Universe.
- Play music that relaxes you and soothes your soul.
As you can see there are many ways to bring hygge into your life and to bring yourself more comfort and more joy. If the holiday season and chronic advertisements and chaos get to you, take some time for yourself, wrap yourself in your coziest clothing, pour a warm drink, relax and breathe. You can get back to the craziness of life later. Embrace hygge and embrace your well-being and life.