Oh even just typing that word brings me a sense of cosiness!
So what is hygge you ask? Well, hygge (pronounced hue-gah or hoo-ga) is a Danish word. It can be a feeling, social action or mood that comes from taking pleasure in making the most of ordinary everyday moments. It has since been developed into a concept and way of living and has spread throughout all aspects of Scandinavian life. It was developed by the Danes during the 18th century and can be applied to space, season or at any time. Often described as 'cosiness' or 'togetherness' there is no literal English translation, it is more a state of mind than physical. In short hygge is a recipe for a happier life and can promote wellbeing.
The key idea surrounding hygge is the environment around you, be it your home and interior, or office space. It should be a sanctuary, a place of comfort and familiarity. Creating simple everyday rituals that require little or no thinking.
Here are some of my top tips for creating a more hygge environment:
Declutter - have a simple minimalistic space. Having many things and clutter surrounding you adds to the clutter in your mind. There isn't much need for ornaments and possessions lying around. Keep the area as neat and tidy as possible.
Candles - candlelight brings a sense of warmth and comfort to any space, the glow allowing us to quickly forget the winter chill. In an age when many of us live in apartments and don't have access to a real fire, candles are the next best thing. We all love sitting around a fire chatting or reading a book. Create a sense of that in your home with a simple candle display.
Interior - you don't have to overhaul your living environment but by adding a few cosy touches, such as throws or big chunky blankets, comfortable pillows and cushions you can add depth and security to a room. It's all about making small simple changes. Think textures, knobbly wool, soft shearling and soft cosy fleece.
Socially - hygge environments are often enjoyed with friends and family. As the winter nights roll in its very easy to become a hermit and stay indoors telling everyone you'll meet them next April. But that's not the answer! Hygge can be a very social occasion, having people to your home to enjoy the warmth, wholesome food and familiar company can be so beneficial to your soul and mental health.
Slow down - we are constantly rushing and running around ticking things off lists. You need to calm down and slow down to take in the moment before you. Quit thinking ahead and just enjoy the now (See Jen's post on mindfulness). Preform activities that help slow you down, such as yoga or pilates.
Fragrance - there are a bunch of diffusers and room sprays on the market these days. I always feel a certain smell can evoke such fond memories. A hygge fragrance to me smells like firewood, maybe some home baking too. To someone else it will be different. Think of what evokes warm memories in you and look for those scents and tones from a diffuser or room spray.
My list of stores that stimulate a hygge way of living are:
Anthropologie - US and UK
Zara home - Worldwide
Blarney Wollen Mills - Irish
Muji - Worldwide
IKEA - Worldwide
It can be said that hygge is a huge contributor to why Danes are often voted the happiest people on earth. Thinking back to the Danish friends and colleagues I know this is so fitting. They are all very calm, placid, happy people.
I hope you enjoy a hygge way of life. Let me know in the comments if you practice hygge in your daily life and at home. Do people comment on how nice it is?