What is Hygge and how can we learn to live more like the Danes?
Hygge has become one of the buzzwords of 2019 along with terms like self-care. But what actually is it? And how can it be translated into our everyday life?
On Nyxie’s Nook we’re all about self-care. We’ve focused on various things such as luxury spa visits to simple gift collections. But it’s not just about the things we can do or buy for ourselves, it’s also about our living environment. That’s where the Danish art of Hygge can come in handy.
*Quick Disclaimer! I’m not Danish, so some things may be incorrect or ‘off’ for those of Danish origin. Please feel free to leave constructive criticism as I would very much like to update this post so that’s it’s a true reflection of Hygge. Although the internet and books are wonderful, their information doesn’t always come from the best sources.
What is Hygge?
Although similar to the German word “Gemütlichkeit” which roughly means the feeling you get when you’re content and comfortable, Hygge originates from Denmark. Much like Gemütlichkeit, there is no definitive way to translate Hygge. It encompasses many things such as the feeling of ‘cosiness’ or ‘contentment‘ through enjoying the simple things.
This idea of wellness in it’s simplest form has been a part of Danish culture since the early 1800s. It later appeared in the UK in early 2016 after several books were published about the art of Hygge in the home. As Denmark plummets into long, long winter nights, Hygge becomes not only more popular but also more important.
Hygge could be the reason why!
The Danes often describe things as hyggeligt (hygge-like) and are obsessed with adding hygge onto other words. For example, sweatpants can be called Hyggebukser, which loosely means “the pants you wouldn’t be caught dead in but always wear around the house.”
You can find Hygge strapped onto almost any word!
How can Hygge help us?
Hygge is responsible for a variety of benefits, or at least that’s the assumption. Despite Denmark suffering from notoriously miserable winters, they’re one of the happiest countries in the world, and the Danes attribute this to practising Hygge.
The idea behind creating a Hygge lifestyle is that it’s meant to promote a sense of calm and warmth within not only your living space but your life as well.
We experience our living space through the use of our five senses, therefore it should come as no surprise that a cosy living space would allow us to feel peaceful and safe. Positive feelings like this allow us to unclench our jaws and lower our defences, therefore allowing us to be more present.
Hygge has been attributed to the following:
- A drop in depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Increased positivity.
- Lowered stress levels.
Among other mental health benefits.
If the prospect of increased happiness isn’t enough for you, check out some of the other benefits of Hygge.
Creating a Hygge space.
When I think of a cosey environment I picture roaring fireplaces, a sea of knitted throws, a hot cup of coffee and Willow sleeping on my lap. The curtains are drawn, the world is dark outside and it’s just me and my video game persona. Cosy can be different for everyone. Some people want reading nooks while others want a warm bed and a good show on Netflix. It’s subjective and that’s the joy of it!
With that being said, Hygge doesn’t only exist in the home. It exists wherever we take it. It’s a feeling of contentment, comfort, joy and is everything we crave to feel in life.
No wonder the Danes have been dubbed one of the happiest nations!
Rule number one of Hygge is to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can’t get comfortable when you’re wrapped up in multiple layers, struggling to keep the cold from your bones, can you? You need warm blankets, a roaring fire, and fluffy pillows.
If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, as many rented homes don’t, simply pop the heating on and bundle up beneath a knitted throw.
Warmth isn’t just physical, it’s what you want to make it. You can feel warm and cosey while out for a stroll through the Christmas markets. It’s an internal feeling of contentment. That feeling you get when you’re with friends, standing under a markee with your hands around a hot chocolate. Or when you’re simply sitting watching the people go by in a cosey cafe, a good book in front of you and peace.
No matter what, make it ‘warm’ and inviting to you.
Forget about the bright, fluorescent lighting! For Hygge living, you want soft, warm lighting such as dimmable lamps and the glow of the embers on the fire. Bringing bright lighting into your living space can keep us alert and feels institutional.
Bringing in softer lighting creates a more intimate experience, allowing us to fully surrender to comfort.
How can I possibly mention lighting without candles? Candles are considered to be a hallmark within Hygge. Not only is there the option of scented candles, but they also provide soft lighting while also promoting relaxation.
Learn more about decorating to get the most our of you home here.
Spend some time doing the things you love. Read a good book, play your favourite video game, or watch a good movie. If you feel more relaxed in the company of people, you can invite your friends around for an evening of hot chocolate and Netflix.
Relaxation is what grounds you and allows you to escape for a while.
Many Hygge experts tell you that Hygge decor needs to be kept simple, comfy, and filled with pillows and blankets. Although that may be true for some, I’m of the opinion that you can make any living space Hyggeligt. With the right lighting and a calming atmosphere, you could even make your office Hygge. Sometimes just having my lamp on, a lovely scent in my diffuser and plenty of warmth can make my office a cosy place to be.
But it’s entirely up to you. How you want to create your Hygge space is all based on what you find comfortable and inviting.
Mostly because I can’t get enough of that word, but also because they’re basically essential. When getting into our hyggeligt state, having comfy, warm clothing is paramount to help us feel at ease.
Whether you’re wearing your winter PJ’s or you have designated hyggebuskers, if it’s comfy then it works for hygge.
Food & Drink.
Certain foods are considered to be more Hygge than others. Hot chocolate is possibly one of the most written about. Include some marshmallows and cream, and you just might have yourself the ultimate winter-warmer.
Just think of your favourite comfort food and you’ve found your perfect companion to the hygge lifestyle.
In fact, my number one goal this winter is to have a hot chocolate for the first time in ten years!
Hygge is what you want to make it.
There are many more ways you can start living like the Danes. Hygge isn’t just about being warm and cosey on the outside, it’s also about feeling those things on the inside too.