Brighten Your Winter with a Little Hygge
Recently, I was introduced to a “new” concept that you may or may not have experienced: Hygge. Pronounced “hue-ga,” this Danish lifestyle concept is not actually a new concept at all; it simply hasn’t become a trend in the U.S. until rather recently. When my client Victoria explained Hygge to me, I immediately connected with the idea and began embracing it in my daily life.
Hygge is a lifestyle concept that is practiced in Denmark. It is best described as a mindset that recognizes and appreciates special, cozy moments – whether these moments occur while alone or with family and friends, indoors or outdoors, unusual or ordinary. Hygge is a central part of Danish cultural identity and is rooted in a culture that experiences long, dark Northern winters; hygge evolved as an effort to counteract the cold, darkness, and boredom of those seemingly endless winter months. With winter on the way, I find that the mindfulness of hygge applies particularly well to hearth and home.
Here are a few suggestions to make your home reflect hygge in the coming months:
- Coziness. Hygge is sometimes described as “the art of creating intimacy.” At home, consider the places you most enjoy spending your time. A window seat, hearthside armchair, or other cozy reading nook serves as a refuge from everyday problems. Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine and immerse yourself in a book.
- Community. Involve family and friends in Hygge by creating welcoming spaces where you can spend time with the people you care about. This might be your kitchen (often the hub of the household) or a dining or family room. Use low lighting, candles, and appealing scents to set the stage for special times with your loved ones.
- Simplicity. Find your joy in baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, playing board games, or working on a puzzle. Simple indulgences can bring us great satisfaction. A simple Sunday dinner of roast chicken or a hearty stew can give your mind and body a boost.
- Peacefulness. In order to truly appreciate hygge, it’s important to make an effort to unwind. Take time to unplug this winter. Read, knit, paint, cook, or keep a journal of the things in life for which you are thankful. Take a walk in the quiet moonlight. Slow down and take the time to indulge in the activities that warm your heart and free your mind from the near-constant onslaught of electronic data that we are faced with daily.
- Nature. Danes are famous for incorporating outdoor elements inside. Materials like natural stone and wood are key features in their living spaces that reflect a connection to nature. Something as simple as a rustic log pile next to the fireplace can evoke a feeling of natural beauty in your home.
- Ritual. Stop and buy yourself flowers every week. Or make a habit of brewing your favorite tea each morning and drinking it from your best china cup. Cultivate a windowsill herb garden. Wear fluffy socks every day. Bake your own bread each week. Use your best linens every evening at dinner. Creating new rituals that release us from a feeling of drudgery when we’re at home can bring a sense of comfort to each day.
The ideas I’ve outlined really speak to me as we approach the time of year when home becomes a sanctuary from the elements. Coziness and contentment at home ultimately make us happier in every aspect of our lives. This winter, I encourage everyone to embrace hygge. Enjoy the now, feed your soul, and find an inner freedom that will sustain you!