We are in the midst of a winter of extremes – record-breaking temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, etc. – depending on where you live. Millions of people are facing severe below zero windchills, the worst in decades, perhaps in a generation. Hygge attitudes and practices can help us get through weather extremes and other stresses any time of year. In fact, if the tensions and conflicts abundant in the country right now are getting you down, I recommend you give this a try.
I invite you to embrace the Hygge principles of self-care like togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence, and comfort. Small effort and not much money are required for this and the payoffs can be significant.
Anne Roderique-Jones’ article, “I Practiced Hygge and It’s Kind of the Best Thing Ever” appeared in the December 25, 2018 issue of Self Magazine. After reading The Little Book of Hygge and implementing its suggestions, her conclusion was:
While hygge is not just about making sure you have (certain) elements in your space—after all, the main component of hygge is that you’re feeling present and spending quality time with yourself or your loved ones—the book did offer up plenty of advice that helped me get to that feeling of coziness and contentment. All in all, I can say with certainty that hygge is my jam. … Right now, when our world feels a little bit uncertain, hygge is a way to practice self-care that feels sincere.
Self care isn’t an escape from reality. It is a way to refill yourself with the energy, focus, and peace that will enable you to do your best, whatever the situation.
The Little Book of Hygge will get you started.
Baby, it’s COLD outside! It’s time to hygge!
You have probably heard the word “hygge” or seen Pinterest photos related to it. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a Danish word for a quality of coziness (= feeling warm, comfortable, and safe) that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family.” The practice originated and thrives in Denmark, and other Scandinavian countries as well. The Danes believe in simplifying your life in order to bring in more positivity, comfort and contentment – and it is effective. Denmark regularly comes out as #1 in the World Happiness Report.
Hygge is all about being cozy, warm, comfortable, positive, and happy. You spend more time with family and friends. You forget the notions of material possessions and simplify your life. You spend more time in front of the fire while snuggling under a warm blanket.
This and so much more is what hygge represents. This brief video from Denmark provides a window into what it means and how it is lived there: Hygge
Some basic elements of Hygge include creating a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging more family time, and inviting friends over for non-electronic activities. This is easily done by having lots of blankets and pillows where you spend relaxing time, adding candles and essential oils for flickering light and pleasant aromas, having great books laying around, playing relaxing music, utilizing your fireplace if you have one, and indulging in treats – beverages and sweets in particular.
Some may see this as indulgent; the Danes and others recognize it as effective self-care. If you haven’t tried it in an intentional way, this winter is a great time to do so.
If you want to learn more about it from a Dane, here’s a link to the book mentioned in the video, written by a researcher at the Happiness Research Institute: The Little Book of Hygge