If you haven’t heard the word “hygge” yet, you are seriously missing out. From fashion magazines to social media, it is a craze that has swept the nation in the same way that Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” did back in 2014.
Pinterest named hygge as one of its hottest home trends for 2017, and a UK dictionary even voted it as last year’s word of the year. Over 1.7 million people tagged Instagram posts with #hygee. What exactly is hygge, you ask?
Hygge is a Way of Life in Denmark
Firstly, despite how it is spelled, it is pronounced “hoo-ga.” It derives from a Norwegian word that means well-being and is a Danish practice that leads to a simpler, happier life through the creation of a cozy space. If you’ve ever spent a day indoors snuggled up by the fireplace while reading a book and sipping hot cocoa, you’ve always been a part of this trend.
Denmark is notoriously listed as one of the happiest countries in the world. According to the Copenhagen-based Happiness Research Institute, hygge is part of Danish culture and an important part of their nationality. So much so that their CEO, Meik Wiking released a “Book of Hygge” recently. Perhaps, it is about time that the rest of us caught up to the Danes on their cozy, relaxing way of life.
Here’s What You Need to Hygge
In order to get hygge with it, there are some basics that you will need to stock up on. The pinnacle of hygge is hyggebuksers, which is Danish for sweatpants that are so cozy you’d be embarrassed to wear them out in public. Consider this the base for your hygge outfit.
Next, you need to buy a comfortable, thick pair of socks made from a high-quality fabric. Consider a pair from Turkey that is known for having the most decadent, comfortable materials. This will not only keep your feet warm when it’s cold or rainy outside, but they will also immediately put you in a hygge state of mind.
Consider purchasing a fluffy comfortable robe as well to further enhance their hyggelig experience. Buy blankets, bath bubbles or relaxing-scented bath products, and even spray some lavender. This will further soothe you. Then find a cozy nook within your home, perhaps a spot by the window.
Creating a Hyggelig Atmosphere
Once you are dressed the part in your most comfortable sweatpants, soft shirt, robe and cozy socks, you are ready to fully indulge in hygge. Create a relaxing atmosphere by lighting candles and use natural lighting to your advantage as well. Turn off any fluorescents or artificial lights that overwhelm the eyes.
Danes love their candles and are said to burn over 13 pounds of them each year. The glow of a candle is enticing, warm and inviting. All qualities essential to hygge. Consider sitting by a fireplace and utilizing blankets or a sweater to throw over your clothes.
While social media loves hygge, hygge does not love social media. Eliminate electronics like a cell phone or loud music. Enjoy focusing on your inner-self, and less on the outside world. Watching TV or a movie with some loved ones and friends is encouraged.
The point is to indulge yourself and surround yourself with positivity. There is nothing wrong with sharing this experience with people who bring you joy, but please do not check work emails or cyber-stalk an ex. This goes against hygge principles.
Don’t Forget Food & Drinks
To truly enjoy yourself, you need to feel both mentally and physically nourished. This means you need something to nosh on while in hygge-mode. Consider comfort foods or homemade treats and hot drinks.
One of the best things to treat yourself to is a cup of hot cocoa. If looking for a meal, chicken pot pie or Grandma’s meatballs and sauce recipe is a good place to start. Whatever you choose to eat, make sure it is something that is familiar and soothes you. This is not the time to be ordering Mexican takeout.
Because this is about indulging, this isn’t the time to be overly cautious about your weight. Just in the way that Marie Kondo encouraged people to think of what sparks joy in their life, hygge also encourages people to live with what they enjoy. If you are feigning for a cupcake while practicing hygge, go for it.
Can You Take Hygge Outdoors?
While hygge is best practiced indoors for the fall and winter, it can also be applied outdoors during the warmer months. Going for a long walk on the beach or in a park with friends can be a form of hygge. Other examples include enjoying an outdoor picnic, outdoor movie, or bonfire on the beach.
Hygge is not meant to be an isolating practice, but instead a fulfilling one. Spending time with friends is a big part of the concept. It’s just meant to be done in a relaxing state rather than a party one. However, you decide to hygge, make sure you are dressed for the part with the basics you need to fully enjoy the experience.