Learn how to achieve comfort and cosiness this autumn when fireplaces and fluffy socks are not an option.
Hygge, actually pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ (much to everyone’s surprise) is the Danish word used to sum up that feeling of contentment brought about by enjoying the simple things in life. Since we don’t have any one word for this feeling in English, the Danish term has seen a rapid rise in popularity in English speaking countries since around 2017.
If you Google the term ‘hygge’ you will see pumpkin spice lattes, blankets, cold weather, lit fires, and warm clothing - everything that comes to mind when someone mentions ‘winter’.
Have you ever turned your AC down to the coldest setting just to snuggle under a blanket? Well that’s you enjoying hygge without even knowing it. But there are other methods of achieving this feeling of cosiness without sending your cooling bill through the roof.
Hygge can be adapted to all seasons and all climates; it’s more than just your environment, it’s a mindset. It’s about relaxation and being kind to yourself. At its core, hygge is a serotonin booster. It means eating that slice of cake you really want but feel you shouldn’t have (no wonder Denmark is the happiest country in the world).
We’ve put together a selection of just a few of the ways you can create a hyggelig atmosphere in your home:
Did you know Denmark burns more candles per capita than any other country? They’re considered an essential component of hygge. This is due to the cosy ambience created by the soft, natural light they give off - a perfect antidote to the harsh strip lights and spot lights found in most office buildings and homes. When combined with calming and relaxing fragrances, it's no wonder Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, calls candles ‘instant hygge’.
2. Indulgent food
There’s a reason why indulgent food is often termed ‘comfort food’. Eating what we love helps to relieve stress and give an immediate sense of satisfaction and happiness. So stop trying to resist those forbidden foods and let yourself indulge every once in a while. In fact, if you find an unexpected and sudden craving come along, make sure your pantry is stocked with these quick and easy baking bottles so that you can hae freshly baked goods ready to eat within 30 minutes.
3. Hot drinks
A hot drink symbolises a stopping point in life. You can’t successfully drink a hot liquid while on the move, not as easily as you can sip a straw. Yes, I can hear you muttering about Starbucks and Costa and their travel cups, but hear me out. A warm drink should be seen as an invitation to pause, to rest and recharge; not as a grab and go ‘pick me up’. Perhaps it would be easier to make time to appreciate this moment if you were sipping out of literal gold.
4. Limited screen time
Sorry, someone has to say it. Staring at your phone all day is the least hyggelig activity out there. Being present in the moment is crucial, as is mindfulness. So when you’re winding down for the evening, try switching out your phone for a more mindful night routine. Light a candle, make yourself a cup of tea, and spend time reflecting on things that make you happy instead. Keeping a journal is a great way to ease your mind and find peace.
5. Enjoy the outdoor
Following on from the concept of being present, try to enjoy the cooler weather as much as possible while it lasts. Invite your friends out for a picnic in the park or a tea party in the garden. Togetherness and socialising with loved ones plays a big role in the hygge lifestyle. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you and allow you to forget about life’s worries. And being outdoors also helps to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, making fresh air an instant mood booster.
Hygge is not dependent on winter weather and cable knit blankets. Hygge is whatever makes you happy and encourages you to appreciate things. It’s something we should all try to incorporate into our lives. If you’re looking for personal gift ideas for loved ones, give the gift of comfort and happiness. Give them something that will provide them with that boost of serotonin. Give them something from the list above!