This post is a collaboration.
Last winter, hygge seemed to be everywhere. The shops were filled with how to guides and hygge tips. Home décor bloggers were preaching the advantages of letting hygge into your home, and Scandinavian influence was spreading far further than Ikea. The more cynical among us might have thought it was just another passing trend or a marketing ploy to get us all to buy more candles and textiles.
But, is there more to it than that? In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, there almost certainly is. Hygge isn’t just about home décor and furniture. It’s a way of life. It’s changing how you think about things and becoming more positive. It’s part of the reason that these countries often rank highly on lists of the happiest, healthiest and most satisfied places on earth.
Being more hygge in your home, and your life could mean that you are healthier, happier, more relaxed and less stressed out. It could see you putting less pressure on yourself, being less anxious and less eager to please. It could even see you living a longer life, surrounded by a happy circle of friends and family. But, if it’s not just about candles and soft furnishings, what is hygge and how can you bring it into your life?
What is Hygge?
Firstly, it’s pronounced “hoo-ga”, and it’s more of a feeling or a concept than it is a trend or a collection of products. Hygge is all about enjoying the simple things in life. It’s about being happy with what’s around you and filling your home, and indeed your life, with things that make you smile. There’s no one definition of hygge, as different things make each of us happy.
Basically put, hygge is that feeling of coziness that you get from doing something or being somewhere that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, as well as safe, happy and at peace with your emotions. For you that might be reading a good book in a hot bubble bath, or it could be enjoying a hot drink on your sofa, surrounded by candles, next to someone that you love. Hygge is about bringing that feeling into all of the little parts of your life. And of course, your home, your own personal safe space, is the best way to start. Mark Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen says, of hygge, “a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA,” The word itself has been part of Danish written language since the 1800’s, so it’s certainly not a trend that’s likely to pass.
Buy Some Candles
So, hygge isn’t all about candles. But, it’s a bit about candles. In Denmark, around 13 pounds of candle wax is burnt every year per capita. Which is a lot more than anywhere else on earth. Bright, harsh lighting is rarely beautiful. So, switch your big overhead lights off, and instead light your home with the softer light of candles. Everything looks better in candlelight. Candles can also improve the atmosphere of your home and help you to relax and unwind.
Being cold isn’t very hygge either. There’s nothing cozier than wrapping up warm. So, make sure your home is warm and cozy all of the time. Do this with blankets and throws, thick, fluffy socks, chunky jumpers, and fluffy rugs. Read about weighted blanket benefits and make sureyou’ve got some warm sweats to relax in when you get home. If you can, adding a real fireplace to your lounge is about as hygge as you can get.
Add More Natural Elements to Your Home
Natural elements are soothing. As technology develops and advances, it becomes a bigger part of our homes and our lives. We move further away from soothing and peaceful nature, as we become more anxious, more stressed out and unhappier.
Bringing the outdoors in can completely change the atmosphere of your home. It can make it more peaceful and calming. Adding thick wooden beams, chunky oak furniture, exposed brickwork and other natural elements like plants and shrubs can instantly make your home feel cozier and help you to get back in touch with nature.
Make the Most of the Weather
You can, and you should hygge all year around. But winter is the best time to get started. Hygge makes winter more bearable, but winter gives you the best chance to create warmth and coziness in your home. Make the most of the cold weather to kickstart your new way of life.
Surround Yourself with Things that You Love
Is your home filled with things that you’re not that bothered about? Accessories and artwork that you’ve bought because they match other pieces or because they were trendy at the time? Get rid of these and instead surround yourself with pieces that you love. They don’t have to match. They don’t have to be expensive or trendy. You just have to love them.
What you eat is a huge part of hygge. Bake fresh bread and pastries, cook filling home cooked meals and drink hot chocolate in the afternoon when you need warming up. Your home should smell wonderful, and you should always have something nice to eat. Baking also has the advantage of helping you to unwind, and as long as you eat a healthy and balanced diet and get some exercise, it shouldn’t affect your weight.
Remember What is Important
It’s essential that you remember that hygge isn’t all about what your house looks like. Décor is a great way to start, but the Danish way of life is about much more than this. It’s about equality and happiness. It’s about remembering that we don’t work to live and that you shouldn’t rely on your job to make you happy. It’s realizing that money, power and status aren’t the only things that matter in your life. It’s giving focus to your friends and family, your hobbies and interests and other things in your life that make you happy, and spending less time working or glued to your phone.