So, this word received a lot of hype in recent months. Everyone says something different about it, and everything is more or less true. The Fantastic Handyman team looked a bit more into the matter and here is what we can tell our readers.
First of all…
How Do You Pronounce It?
Hygge is pronounced “hue-gah”, or “hoo-ga”. It’s a Danish word for “cozy” or “comfortable”and yes, the meaning is about as vague as the word itself.
What does It Mean?
“The act of being comfortable” is different for different people. Drinking a cup of coffee while snuggling in a fluffy blanket in front of a fireplace – this is hygge.
Having friends over and enjoying home-made pastries – this is hygge.
Reading a book while wearing an extremely comfortable looking sweater in front of the window on a rainy day – still hygge.
Understanding hygge means understanding the Danish way of life. The weather in Denmark, being a Scandinavian country, is not the warmest and stays gloomy throughout the year. The hygge talk is always present, but it picks up the pace in early autumn when temperatures drop.
The need to feel warm, safe and, of course, to be together with their loved ones, is a very sought-after commodity in Denmark. Do these cravings sound familiar? It’s usually what the rest of the world thinks about when the winter holidays come up.
Except the Danish have this view embedded into their daily lives.
Denmark has been labeled “the happiest country on Earth” many times, mostly due to the better than average economic well-being of its citizens and the overall acceptance of social issues. If you ask a Danish person about the source of their happiness, it would never be “money”, but their unique point of view that is capable of greatly improving the quality of life.
The Danish way of living includes keeping away from stressful situations and dedicating your time each day to simply feeling comfortable. Very often, being comfortable means sparing a moment to be present in the “now” and everything positive that now brings.
How to Incorporate Hygge into Your Life?
Understand the philosophy
The first thing you will have to work on in order to make the most of the hygge lifestyle is to understand it properly. For an overworked person, everything we shared until now may be difficult to grasp from the first time.
You have to take your time and get more educated not just in terms of logic, but also in understanding the sort of feeling this lifestyle brings. After all, it’s an emotional journey we seek out of it.
Spend quality time with your loved ones
Being social is the root of all happiness. While it’s true that everyone needs their personal space and at least some time to be alone, take a breath, and gather strength for the rest of the day, social interactions can charge you with just as much positive energy.
And for those people who get worn down by the pressure that comes with populated close circles, it’s best to maintain closeness only with those who make you the happiest.
Cycle to work or shops
If you Google Denmark, you will notice that it’s a country where a lot of people cycle to work or to other establishments during their day.
It’s a healthy activity for the body, but it can also be healthy for the mind. Movement shakes off stress, and cycling can make you as self-aware as sitting comfortably in front of the fireplace.
Use the word
The word “hygge” has already been overused on social media, and honestly – it’s a wonderful marketing ploy.
— Fiona Hoff (@thefhoff) January 9, 2017
Denmark is the happiest nation 😊why 😙well its all down to #hygge this means coziness 👍🏻so instead of moaning about the dark 💁🏻light some 🕯🕯🕯
— Delia Cazzato (@DeliaCazzato) January 9, 2017
— Patrick Catson (@PatrickCatson) January 14, 2017
But that aside, using the word has proven to easily remind people of taking some stress-free quality time. Which is exactly what the purpose of this lifestyle is all about.
Don’t overwork yourself
Staying late on the job is exactly what you need to take a break from. So, if possible, leave work at the end of your work day.
Soup and tea
Good, healthy food will make your comfortable nook a place you wouldn’t want to get out of. The best example is having a hot bowl of delicious soup, or a cup of tea. Or both.
Wear comfortable clothing
Since we’re making ourselves a comfort zone, wearing something comfortable is common sense. Layers of fluffy clothing, like overly big sweaters and thick socks, is ideal for the cold weather outside.
But, if you’re going hygge in summer, try to avoid anything with rough texture or high heels (if going outside).
Spend time on hobbies
Spending your time doing nothing might be a torture for some overly active people. Hygge isn’t about being bored. So, if you’d prefer spending your time doing something productive while resting, go ahead.
The best choice is to involve yourself in a crafting activity, such as knitting, or drawing, or anything else that makes you happy. Just don’t switch on the TV or the computer.
The lighting in your comfortable space should be dimmed, not eye-straining. If it makes you slightly sleepy, then you’re doing it right.
So, Hygge Is “Comfortable” in Danish. What isn’t Hygge?
Source: Anna Shepulova/shutterstock.com
Staring into your phone, tablet, or computer all day
Unfortunately, using the devices you spend your full-time job on is not going to make you feel comfortable. Not only will this remind you of work and stress you out, but even if you’re using it for fun, it will strain your eyes, preventing you from getting the full quality of your alone time.
Not to mention that you will be tempted to check the news, and let’s face it – the current state of politics will do nothing good for your peace of mind. It’s a simple fact.
Spending too much time on work
Denmark contributes to its people’s happiness by carefully helping everyone have a good work/life balance. This is not the case in many other countries, and you alone would have to work hard to maintain your daily routines as healthy and stress-free as possible.
And this means no overtime on your full-time job.
Spending too much time alone
While hygge does mean giving yourself some alone time to think and be self-aware, locking yourself away from the world will do you no good.
There’s more to hygge than just hibernating in your comfortable safe space. You will have to, at some point in time, invite your friends and family over in order to be truly happy.
We live in a time when people shy away from each other, stay alone, and devote all their time to their job. As a result, more and more people have depressive moments and panic attacks, some of which last in the long term.
As humans, we have a need to take care of each other’s emotional well-being so we can all derive happiness from the things we have and the togetherness of the people we love. By setting the right example for the ones around you, you can be a part of the path that leads us there.