What is “Hygge”?
When I asked to publish an article about “Hygge”, I did not know what to say at first. It was something unfamiliar; this is what I found out…
Hygge is the Danish ideal for dealing with the frigid short days and long nights. Apparently, it has been somewhat of a trend since 2016. The word hygge did not actually originate from the Danish language, but from Norwegian. Swedes have mys, and Norwegians have kos. Here the word originally meant something similar to, “well-being”. However, it spread to Denmark in the 18th century and has since become an integral part of the country’s culture. Hygge, or “hoo-gah,” is a principle centered on making your home and life as content, comfortable and relaxing as possible.
So far, what the word means. Seems like I am behind in this trend as this was the first time it registered on my radar.
How you view winter can change your mindset and help combat the winter blues. Finding the pleasure in staying cozy inside can go a long way in not letting winter get you down. Both self-care each night and surrounding yourself with friends and family and creating a home for everyone to gather. There is nothing we can do to make the winter days warmer, but with hygge you can make your home a great place to take in the beauty of the season while snuggling up in contentment.
Hygge is ultimately about connecting to your loved ones.
Nutritionstipped gives us the following list of what Hygge looks like:
- cuddling with your loved one
- putting on warm socks after a long day
- taking a hot bath
- playing with your puppy or pet
- sitting down after a long day on your feet
- lighting a candle that makes you feel relaxed
- smelling your favorite bouquet of flowers
- drinking hot Turmeric Milk
- sitting fireside with a glass of red wine
- looking up at the sky while laying on the grass
- feeling the sun on your skin
- watching the sunrise or sunset
- cooking your favorite dish
- setting the mood through lighting
- breathing in fresh air and finding stillness within
- hugging someone
- watching a movie under a fluffy blanket
- dinner with family or friends (no phones!)
- practicing gratitude
- tea or coffee with a friend to chat and catch up
- making your home a cozy sanctuary (blankets, candles, things you love)
Lay The Foundation
Along the same lines as the emphasis on togetherness, the design and layout of your living spaces can impact ways in which you can work towards hygge. For larger living areas, try to work on creating smaller, more intimate settings for conversation as opposed to wide-open spaces. Orient sofas towards the center of the room and other chairs; try not to face them at televisions or any other room feature like a fireplace since that block off the room.
If you do have a fireplace, hygge is the perfect time to take full advantage of the light and warmth provided. Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace, follow all safety precautions and use it to your heart’s delight. Fires can instantly create a cozy ambiance perfect for all hygge activities.
Use natural light whenever possible. Using artificial lighting in specific ways can go a long way in helping create hygge. Soft, welcoming lights will always pair well with the coziness you are trying to create. From candles (real or flameless!) to dimmable lights and fireplaces if you have one, inviting and soothing lighting is a major step in building an atmosphere that lends itself to hygge.
Task lighting is another way to think of how to light your space. Think of what relaxation means to you on a cold winter’s night, if it is curling up with a book think of accent and end table lamps for sitting under with cocoa. Danai Christopoulou A cup of hot cocoa does not only remind us of our childhood, but has other benefits as well. Unsweetened cocoa powder is rich in polyphenols and good for you for a number of reasons, from reducing inflammation to improving blood sugar levels.
You will probably need more light if a game night with friends and family is more your speed, but think of floor lamps instead of overhead. Built in or large fixtures tend to be strong LED or fluorescent bulbs and too bright to be relaxing.
Other fun ways to use lighting are getting string lights or repurposing your holiday lights and looking into DIY projects like pattern lampshades or mason jar lanterns. Have fun with it and remember that several areas of soft lighting will get you farther than single, harsh sources when getting cozy.
Small Spaces and Hygge
Often times smaller areas can be the easiest and most effective spaces to focus your hygge efforts. Again, this will depend on what your ideal for rest and comfort is, but if you’re more of a snuggle up with a blanket and a face mask then it could be easier and more effective to deck out your bedroom to be as comfy as possible.
If you spend most of your free time lounging in your room, make sure your mattress is up to the challenge. No matter if you are more comfortable with a firm or a plush feel, there are tons of places you can look for an affordable mattress if yours might need replacing. From there pile on the pillows, a soft comforter and again, tailor your lighting to your needs for a relaxing place to unwind each night.
Small spaces are perfect since it can be a great place to keep in mind the minimalist element to hygge. Use only what you need to create your ideal comfort, but no more. Limited space forces you to be creative, so use everything you have! Floating wood shelves are great for extra storage and holding flameless candles without taking up space or providing room for clutter to accumulate. Surround yourself with nature wherever possible, like living plants and flowers.
Do not Forget The Details
Now that you have your room layout set, lighting sorted and know what activities will bring you joy, time to hone in on the details. Making careful choices when picking items to surround yourself with can save you time and clutter. Again, keep in mind the activities you’ll be doing and how much space you have to work with. If you have a small sofa, large accent pillows probably will not serve you as well as a super soft throw blanket.
Along with including items in cozy fabrics, try to look for pieces with different textures as well to create visual interest. Smooth silk pillows, fuzzy rugs and knit blankets will help accomplish hygge while also providing you with a gorgeous design!
” Hygge, to me, has never been something you could buy.” Meghan Overdeep
In addition to the previous list, Meghan has the following suggestions:
1 Get creative, remember those coloring book? Maybe winter time is the right time to dust them of and start coloring.
2 Choose a spot just for yourself where you can unwind, meditate, be creative or just be still.
3 Make simple things special
4 Pamper yourself.
What makes you happy
Hygge can be anything that makes you feel at peace says Maria Cruz. In addition, it is not just during the winter months, you can experience this feeling! It is being appreciative of any special moment that brings you comfort. Experiencing the little things, like what grandma meant when she said to take time to smell the roses. What makes you happy.
Be unplugged for a while. Staring at electronic devices can upset your day/night rhythm. Use your “night” setting when possible. I use Flux, a free down loadable program on my computer. It decreases “blue” light, which is harmful for us.
Charlotte Higgins also penned an in-depth piece for The Guardian talking about the darker side of the lifestyle and how, for some, it promotes shutting up emotions and feelings and focusing mainly on trying to adopt hygge. She also mentioned in her piece how Meik Wiking himself wrote that hygge might seem isolating to certain foreigners, especially because there is more to hygge than someone would ever know about from reading a few articles about it.It’s also not about buying a ton of new stuff. Some companies might push to sell items that are considered hygge-friendly, but you shouldn’t be emptying your wallet to cater to this lifestyle.
Here are some tips to get you started!
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