We all have heard the term called Hygge while scrolling through our social media platforms, and while we read a lot about what the term means, let us understand how we can practice it. By definition, hygge is a philosophy of wellbeing achieved by simple things in life. It encompasses warmth, safety, togetherness, familiarity, peace, and contentment. This danish based philosophy was started in the early 1800s where the word was first established in written language. Pronounced as hue-guh, the concept not only involves living in the present but also, enjoying and embracing the present.
Denmark, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report, is the world’s happiest country and the reason behind it, as Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living, believes is nothing but the concept of hygge. According to him, it is one of the most important concepts in the lives of Danes. So, how can we achieve it? Here are some key elements which can help establish ‘hygge’
- Conscious and cozy way of Life: This simply means to feel a sense of belonging at home. To feel a sense of safety, security, and comfort, and to be truly present in the moment. With loved ones around, we enjoy a feeling of belongingness and to embrace this feeling is nothing but hygge itself. Family meals are a good way of practicing the concept. However, this also involves collectively leaving all the electronic devices and distractions aside, to enjoy each other’s presence.
- Warm Lighting: Lighting is one of the most important elements of hygge. Danes use candles as a source of lighting to create a warm and cozy environment. We all have seen/heard about candlelight dinners and how it creates a sense of intimacy and warmth. That’s exactly what hygge is about.
- Comfort in your being: Blankets, fireplaces, comfortable loungewear like pajamas, knits and patterned socks, picnics, bike rides, warm hugs, etc. all constitute hygge.
- Comfort food: While restaurants successfully create an environment of hygge, spending a lot of money on expensive foods would be of no point. Here the emphasis is more on comfort and familiarity. Homemade dinner, sipping hot chocolates in winters, having a nice cup of brewed tea or coffee, cakes, and sweets, and anything that fulfills your inner foody-self!
While winter is the obvious time for all things hygge, Danes practice this concept year-round. Some ideas for hyggelig summer activities include picnics in the park, backyard dinner parties, bonfires on the beach, and outdoor movie nights. While Christmas is a high season of hygge, we can always find a lot of ways to establish it around us and add a little more warmth in our lives.
Overall, as we understand this concept, hygge is nothing but an idea of taking care of our wellbeing. By giving ourselves the kindness we all deserve, we create a space that allows growth and healing for ourselves. As volunteers of mental health and wellbeing, we encourage all of you to give this practice of hygge a try. Go on. You deserve it!
- Matthews L, (2018). What are hygge things to know about the Danish lifestyle trend? Retrieved from: https://www.countryliving.com/life/a41187/what-is-hygge-things-to-know-about-the-danish-lifestyle-trend/
- Mclardy L. (2018) What is hygge? Discover how you can experience hygge. Retrieved from: https://www.wellbeing.com.au/at-home/home/what-is-hygge-discover-%20how-you-can-experience%20hygge.
- What is Hygge? Retrieved from: https://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/highlights/hygge/what-hygge