Top 4 Tips on How to Live Hygge
What is this lifestyle trend that a lot of us have already embraced, probably without realizing it? This Danish concept, pronounced ‘hue-guh’, can’t be expressed in just one word. It is a lifestyle of cozy contentment, and a big contributor to why Denmark is known for its happy citizens. These top 4 tips on how to live hygge have made their way to the UK, America and the rest of the world for everyone to embrace.
Hygge is considered a defining feature of the Danish cultural identity and an integral part of their lives. Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen says, in his book The Little Book of Hygge, “What freedom is to Americans, hygge is to Danes.” Its no wonder then, that despite their infamously miserable winters, Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world’s happiest countries.
Now the rest of the world is beginning to catch on to how to live hygge.
Is Hygge a thing?
Hygge is more of an idea than a physical thing. If you live in a place with cold winters, it is the idea of curling up inside with a warm drink, comfortable clothes, a good book and maybe a candle or two.
Danish people consider candles to be essential to hyggelig. As a matter of fact, candles are the most important part of creating this hyggelig atmosphere at home. 13 pounds of candle wax are used by the Danes each year, more than any other country in the world.
It’s getting together with some friends on a cold winter night to watch a movie or play board games. Fireplaces, throw blankets, oversized sweaters, sweat pants, and thick socks also make things more hygge. Hygge is about the simple things in life, like childhood comfort food and just feeling warm and content and present.
Denmark is full of long cold winter days. They developed this idea of hygge in order to break up the monotony of a long winter and make every day special. Hygge is also the act of making rituals out of everyday actions in order to make them special, such as making a special routine of brewing your coffee or tea in the morning.
Hygge is touted as a cure for a cold with some warm tea, and is an answer for seasonal affective disorder, which a lot of people get in the winter. Danes may be some of the happiest people in the world for the many benefits of their society such as free healthcare and education, or maybe they simply know how to appreciate the small things in life many people overlook. (1, 2, 3)
Danes also add hygge to other words to describe things. For example, a hyggekrog is a cozy nook by a window where you can wrap yourself in a blanket and watch the world go by. Where’s your hyggekrog? Mine is on my sofa surrounded by pillows, a blanket, a cup of tea and my favorite book.
So, what isn’t hygge?
Being on your phone all day checking “likes” on Facebook is the least hygge thing out there. Electronics tend to take away the meaning of hygge, which encourages being with friends, being together and enjoying the company of those close to you.
What you eat is also essential to creating cozy, hygge vibes, and so when your friends are over, there’s no need to spend lots of money on expensive meals. This is more about feeling comfortable and cooking something familiar, like a vegan pot pie recipe or baking your favorite cookies. Soups, stews, pastries, and lots of coffee, and hot chocolate all help to create that hygge atmosphere. Don’t forget the candles!
How to Hygge
A lot of people experience hygge naturally. Now that the winter holidays are arriving and the weather has gotten colder, you’ll see a lot of longing for comforts such as cozy fires, hot drinks and holiday traditions. Here are a few tips to bring hygge into your life.
- Whether you get your drinks from Starbucks or your own kitchen, get a nice mug of something delicious and hot, and take the time to savor it. Even better if you catch up with a friend over your cups.
- Put down your phone and pick up a book instead. Unplugging and enjoying a non-technology pastime is a very hygge idea.
- Decorate with comfort in mind. Cozy up your home with copious amounts of blankets, pillows and numerous places to curl up with your drink and your book. Dress yourself similarly in sweaters, comfortable pants and warm socks.
- Indulge in the little pleasures. Don’t feel bad for minorly cheating on your diet when you treat yourself once in a while to your favorite candy or comfort food.
Does this mean that you have to stay inside all day drinking hot chocolate? While that certainly sounds great, going out for a long winter walk, wrapped in your favorite scarf and cozy gloves, is also very hygge.
What about summer?
Winter is the obvious time to hygge, but the Danes practice this concept all year long. You can definitely incorporate hyggelig activities into your summer. Try picnics in the park, dinner parties outside in the evening with lights and candles, outdoor movie nights, sitting around a bonfire or chiminea.
Ultimately, the idea is to enjoy the simple things in life, the things that bring you joy. It is not about buying expensive things to make your home hyggelig. It is about using what you already have and appreciate, and to surround yourself with warmth, love, good friends and meaning. Light some candles and hunker down if it’s winter, or light some candles and sit outside with friends in the summer. Either way, you now know how to live hygge! Let me know in the comments below how you get your hygge on…!