Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. The Danish term has become increasingly popular around the globe recently, giving rise to the production of several books. So why should we embrace the art of hygge?
A hygge lifestyle embraces the simple things in life, whether its making a cup of tea, lighting a few candles, playing calming music, or putting on a pair of thick fluffy socks. Winter is the most hygge time of year: it’s the perfect season to achieve ultimate cosiness. Put on an over-sized jumper, snuggle up under a blanket and eat some warm pastries, all in front of a fireplace. It’s all about indulging in your own happiness.
- Term comes from a Norwegian word meaning “wellbeing”
- First appeared in Danish writing in the 19th Century and has since evolved into the cultural idea known in Denmark today
How to live the Hygge life
The Danes are clearly living life the right way. Denmark is regularly voted the happiest country in the world so perhaps living the hygge lifestyle will be the way in which we achieve true contentment. Today’s world is fast-paced and stressful, so it’s important to take a step back (from work, the internet, etc.) and take care of ourselves. Here is a checklist on how to achieve a hygge life:
1. Candles. They don’t have to be expensive- just some IKEA tealights will do! Candles create such a calming atmosphere, and are great if you don’t have access to a fireplace. Turn off the lights, light some candles and relax in bed or on the sofa. Personally I love vanilla scented candles, but choose your favourite scent to treat yourself.
2. Tea. Or any other hot drink: hot chocolate, coffee, fruit tea… anything you’d like. Make your favourite hot drink, get cosy on the sofa, and sip your cup of tea. Use your favourite mug too- it’s all about treating yourself.
3. Warm Clothes. During Winter you’re probably already wearing some cozy clothes, but to make you more relaxed, throw on an over-sized jumer, a pair of joggers and some fluffy socks. Comfort is the key!
4. Blankets. Snuggle up under a cosy blanket on the sofa to warm yourself up. Primark do brilliant fluffy blankets, and they’re really cheap too. You could also make yourself a hot water bottle and pop it under the blanket to make it really warm.
5. Books. One of the best ways to relax is by reading a good book. When you’re nice and cosy on the sofa its great to spend your time reading. If you’re not a keen reader, put on a film, TV series, or some calming music.
6. Food. Go and buy yourself your favourite sweets, biscuits, pastry, etc. It’s good to treat yourself every once in a while (obviously don’t eat sweets all day every day!), or you can get a healthy snack to nibble on whilst you’re relaxing. Personally, I find baking really therapeutic. If you’re the same, you could make something and then sit down and eat it with a cup of tea and a good book.
7. Music. To top off the ultimate hygge experience, put on some calming music to keep you relaxed. Spotify has some great playlists, from chill out music, to acoustic covers, to piano ballads. You could even try putting on some rain sounds or nature sounds- I find these really calming, and rain sounds make you feel especially cosy.
Essentially, hygge is about indulgence, cosiness, happiness and relaxation. But it can be used in day to day life, and not just on your own. Hygge is also routed in a sense of togetherness: being kind to strangers, having a cosy evening with friends or snuggling up with your partner.
With our constantly gloomy weather, Britain is well suited to hygge, and most of us are probably already used to staying cosy in the winter months. But we also need to treat ourselves- so go on, live a life of hygge and indulge in some happiness!
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, by Meik Wiking: