The Danish way to live well has got everyone talking, but what exactly is hygge?
Here we were thinking that Uber eats, turning on the heater and rugging up to Netflix on a Friday night was the definition of ‘warm and cosy’, but the Danes have gone and done one better. Given they have been named one of the happiest nations on earth, we think maybe they’re onto something. And that something is called Hygge—a little something we've learned about from The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
Named ‘word of the year’ in 2016, a good place to start is the pronunciation. Repeat after us: “hoo-gar”. Without a direct English translation, we’ll try our darndest to explain this adjective, verb and noun (not confusing at all).
Hygge is a way of life that's all about comfort and cosiness. You can feel hygge, create hygge and act hygge. So basically… remove all the overwhelming, irritating and annoying crap in your world and choose to live a little simpler and gentler. It’s about enriching your well-being through gratitude and removing the ‘stuff’.
But how do we actually do that? Here’s what Meik Wiking thinks.
Put Away Your Phone
Savour the moment by actually being in it. Hygge represents that feeling of being in the country on a long weekend without any notifications to distract you. Basically, be present. With or without your phone, it’s the art of taking in a moment with gratitude for what you’re experiencing.
Say Yes To The Doughnut
The book says, “you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cake, and that is almost the same thing”. Sweets are hygge. Coffee is hygge. Cake is hygge. Mulled wine is hygge. Hot chocolate with marshmallows is hygge. Hearty stew is hygge. Carrot sticks, not so much. It’s about being kind to yourself and giving yourself a break from the daily demands of life. Gummy bears, liquorice and chocolate anyone? Don’t mind if we do!
While we’re all about stretchy pants, hygge goes beyond Lululemon and Nike kicks. The emergency comfort kit includes chocolate, tea, books, jam, woolly socks, an old jumper and the perfect blanket to name a few. We’re in total agreeance that comfort is indeed the ultimate guide to happiness.
With the purpose to create a soothing environment through dimmed lighting, it goes a little deeper than literally burning your money away. Warm and relaxing lighting = hygge. So turn off the lights and light some candles. You’re gonna need a lot though, so maybe hold off on buying the fancy ones and instead learn the art of DIY (which, of course, is very hygge of you).
Love Thy Neighbour
Friends don’t come in the form of Rachel, Monica and Phoebe without effort. Invest in your mates the way the Danes do: in small numbers. The book tells us the optimal amount of people to ‘hygge’ with is three to four (hello brunch club!). Any introverts out there? This is also right up your alley. Hygge derives energy from within, the same way introverts would in social situations. Smaller groups + organised fun = a match made in hygge heaven.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Given every apartment in Denmark looks like a page out of a leading interior design magazine, we’re not surprised the Danes have an obsession with their homes. For the majority, hygge is found inside. In a li'l nook covered in cushions, in the kitchen surrounded by ceramics and smells or in the living room among a bookshelf with a rug. The purpose is to love the space you’ve built for yourself. It’s off to West Elm we go!
But Still Go Outside
It's true, you can hygge like a boss inside—that's where couches, cosy blankets and fireplaces are—but remember to get outside amongst nature and breathe in some fresh air every once in a while. Sunday morning strolls, picnics by the water, bushwalks and backyard bonfires are all perfect examples of hygge (and proof that you can hygge in summer as well as winter).
Share The Airtime
We all wanna talk about ourselves so share the airtime guys. Hygge is ‘we’ over ‘me’. Basically, this mentality means being a better human. Don’t brag. Ditch the drama. Don’t be in it for the competition. Ahhh, we’re feelin' better already!
Want more? Here are 50 ways to be happier every day.
Image credit: Alisa Anton via Unsplash