Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish concept that can be loosely translated to “coziness.” Somewhat tricky to define hygge is more of a feeling, an experience, or a sensation, says VisitDenmark.com, the official tourism website for the Danes. The essence of hygge may be found in little moments, such as hearing wood crackling in the fireplace or sitting cross-legged on the floor for a card game with dear friends.
The heart-warming concept of hygge has since spread beyond the borders of the Danish country and become a way of life for people around the world. Why? Because when Denmark was named the world’s happiest country in 2016, everyone sat up and started paying attention. What are the Danes doing that’s boosting their contentment? Well, hygge, of course.
Benefits of Hygge
The Danes experience up to 17 hours of darkness during winter and rain 50 percent of the time, yet they’re still quite pleased. Here are just a few reasons you may consider hopping on the hygge bandwagon, too:
- Unplug from screens. Tech can leave you feeling “powered on” 24/7. The practice of Hygge encourages unplugging to enjoy the here and now.
- Connect with loved ones. Hygge helps boost emotional well-being by bringing people together, for a delicious meal, a cup of tea, a game, or shared silence while reading.
- Relieve stress. Hygge is the ultimate form of stress-management and self-care. It promotes stepping away from work and screens in order to relax and decompress.
Hygge also promotes mindful eating, eases headache pain, and improves sleep quality.
How to Hygge
Hygge can be basically summed up to intentional self-care, which is certainly something overworked countries like America can learn from. So, why not make an effort to enjoy more of life’s simple pleasures? Live more hygge-like by trying the following:
- Plan a relaxing spa day (at the spa or by purchasing spa products to use at home).
- Invite friends over for a meal.
- Dim the lights. Use the fireplace, candles, or lamps instead.
- Decorate with soft fabrics and muted tones with plenty of throws and pillows.
- Play board games with friends or family instead of watching television.
- Listen to soft music during a yummy soup dinner.
- Snuggle up by the fireplace with a book.
- Take a relaxing bath using specialty salts or oils to nourish your skin.
Are you thinking about trying hygge?
Header photo by Anthony Tran.