Have you seen this word around the internet recently? It’s definitely gaining in popularity. But you might be wondering what it means and why you should care. Hygge is a word to describe the Danish way of finding joy in the little things in life. It’s all about coziness, comfort, and contentment. I love technology but I can see why hygge is being embraced by North Americans. The more technology takes over parts of my life, the more I want some time away from it. That’s why I now look for how to hygge in my life. (ps – it is both a noun and a verb. I looked it up!)
In all of the reading I have done about how to hygge, what really stands out for me is that it all boils down to the five senses.
If you want that cozy, comfortable feeling in your home, you have to think of it as a sensory experience. How can you surround yourself with beautiful things to look at, lovely aromas, delicious tastes, soothing sounds, and comforting touches? Here are 10 simple ideas:
1. Light candles.
This can take care of more than one sense at a time. Candlelight has been shown to be quite relaxing and if you choose a calming scent, it enhances the experience even further. Fireplaces and campfires are another wonderful way to enjoy this same type of relaxation.
2. Have plenty of cozy wraps and throws handy.
I keep a basket stocked with wraps, throws, and slippers. That way, I never need to go on a hunt to find them (which can cause frustration and interfere with that hygge mood) – they’re easily accessible. I change them up seasonally – heavier wool ones in the cooler months and lighter cotton ones in the warmer ones. While you’re at it, think about textures – clothing, curtains, rugs, furniture. Anything that can touch your body should be pleasing when it does.
3. Serve simple flavorful foods.
Whether just for your own dinner or to serve to your guests, go for simple and flavorful over elaborate. I find that a little meal planning ahead of time helps keep dinnertime stress-free. A cassoulet is so simple to put together and it can just simmer all day long (or put it in the slow cooker!). Add some crusty bread and dinner is served. Of course, if you’re like me, sometimes you LOVE making the really elaborate meals. It is the thing that brings you joy. So if that’s the case, definitely go for it.
Swap massages with your partner. Or go get a professional one. Touch is very important to our wellbeing. Is there anything else that makes you feel as relaxed? For me, weirdly enough, I love to get my eyebrows waxed and I love to get acupuncture done. Both are very soothing for me.
5. Add a water feature to your home.
The sound of water can be very stress-relieving. As often as possible, I go to the beach. I’m not a sun worshipper – instead I just love to watch and listen to the sound of the waves lapping up against the shore. But when I can’t go to the beach, the next best thing is the sound of a water feature in my home. You can find small desktop fountains or larger features – you could even add a small pond and fountain to your backyard to extend the comfort out there as well.
6. Create a soothing playlist of music.
What soothes one person may not be the same as for another. Whether it’s classical music or big band or rock and roll, personalize your list to what makes you happy. I have created more than one to accommodate various moods.
7. Read a good book.
Or if reading isn’t your thing, watch a good movie. I have built going to the movies with my daughter and grandson into my schedule. I clear my calendar and make it happen. It’s a great break for all of us and if there’s one thing that’s really hygge to me, it’s movie theatre popcorn! When it comes to reading, I sometimes feel like I read all day long for my job. But it’s not quite the same as losing myself in a good story. So, I’ve also set aside time every week for some pleasure reading. The candlelight, a cozy throw, and a good book. That’s pretty much like heaven in my world.
8. Get together with friends and family.
Togetherness is a key component of hygge. I’m an introvert so I have to approach this carefully or it has the exact opposite effect for me. Some social gatherings feel more like an obligation to me than anything. When I can get together with the people who uplift me or make me laugh, that’s definitely going to fill me up with feelings of contentment.
9. Make time for your hobbies.
Take up some new ones. And no, hanging out on social media doesn’t count. Put away those devices and do something with your hands. Knitting, embroidery, pottery – the list of possibilities is long! Take a class on Greek cooking, how to speak Italian, or something else you’ve always wanted to learn. Even better, sign up for a class with your best friend or significant other. The shared experience will boost the hygge to an even higher level.
10. Remember that hygge is not about complicated, but it’s not about lacking either.
Some philosophies are all about stark simplicity. Reduce the clutter, get rid of most of your possessions, stick to the bare minimum. Coming from Denmark, of course hygge favours simple pleasures, but the key word here is pleasures. Hygge is all about living life to the fullest. It’s about comfy, cozy furniture you can curl up in. One more throw added to the bed on a cold wintery night. Having that piece of Grandma’s apple pie.