The people of Denmark are considered some of the happiest in the world. It’s thought that the practice of Hygee (hoo-guh), which is loosely translated as “cosiness”, is not just a way of life, it’s a state of mind.
“The closest word would have to be coziness, but that doesn’t really do it justice,” writes Pia Edberg in her book The Cozy Life. “[Hygge is] a holistic approach to deliberately creating intimacy, connection, and warmth with ourselves and those around us.”
It’s possible to adopt some of these practices into your own way of living, especially as the days get darker and shorter.
Light candles. The people of Denmark burn 13 pounds of candles each year, but it’s not a contest. Any kind of candles will do, but ideally you want to choose ones that you find the most appealing. You don’t need to limit yourself to candles however, any kind of soft light will do. The Danes prefer ambient lighting to harsh, overhead light.
Bring in blankets, pillows, and rugs. Think soft and fluffy, chunky or textured. And not just in your bedroom, but also your living spaces. You want to make sure that you stay true to your own decorating style, but the goal is increased comfort and coziness.
Fireside activities. Nothing says cozy like a roaring fire, whether it’s real or faux. Curling up with a book under a blanket, roasting marshmallows with friends, playing a game of chess, taking a nap under blankets; all these activities done either with friends and family or alone are part of the hygee experience.
Learn a new hobby or engage in an old one. Get away from technology and nurture your creative spirit. Read a book. Learn needlepoint or one of the fiber arts like knitting or crochet. Take up sewing. Calligraphy is becoming popular again and there are beautiful fountain pens and inks on the market. Teach yourself to play chess.
Gather with friends and family. This is especially important in the winter when it’s easy to adopt “hermit” tendencies and tuck away until spring. Gather over food and drink and just enjoy each others company. Or, bundle up and enjoy the great outdoors, then gather back inside for warm drinks and treats.
Relax. Slow down. Savor that cup of tea and read that article in the magazine. Have some relaxing clothes to change into when you get home from work, or for on the weekends. Again, think soft, warm, and comfortable. There will always be somewhere else to go, or something else to do, but sometimes you just need to stop and enjoy where you are and what you are doing. Then, you will have discovered hygee.
Join the Email List
Subscribe to get my latest content by email, and I'll send you FIVE things to consider when caring for yourself: because you can't care for others if you don't care for yourself first.