Autumn is arriving slowly this year, it is a season which inspires me to write about HYGGE. Maybe you heard about it or you've seen one of the books on Hygge in your local bookstore. If not you will say: hygge ??!! And ask yourself what language that is. Hygge, pronounced "hoo-ga", is a Danish and Norwegian word, which can not be translated to one single word but it can be described as a quality of cosiness, contentment of well-being, and enjoying the simple things in life. It was never meant to be translated, it was meant to be felt. It is a Danish trend, if you can call it a trend, as it is a part of their way of living: making life more cozy.
In Holland they will call it gezelligheid, the Germans will talk about Gemütlichkeit. The concept is quite similar: cosiness, comfort, state of warmth, friendliness. Hygge is a part of Danish culture sine the early 1980s, they are aware of the differences between wealth and wellbeing.
Hygge time can be all year round, but autumn and, even more, winter are the most hygge time as it is a lot about candles, felt slippers, heavy woolen textiles, sheepskin rugs, hot cocoa, and open fireplace.
Hygge is more than a cozy room, good company, and good food. Hygge is a philosophy, a way of living. It is all about slowing down, to unwind, and finding the importance of simplicity.
Danes love candles, and honestly who doesn't, as the flame will create a nice atmosphere in even the darkest room. Nothing about hygge is artificial, so don't go for scented candles. Beeswax is the best option to look for in the shops. Turn down the lights, light the candles and you will create a cosy atmosphere in just a minute.
As nature is relaxing to the mind you should bring nature inside now as it will give you comfort in the darker and colder months, as you won't be able as much as in summer to spend time outdoors. Hygge is everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul. Important to take pleasure in the presence.
Design your interior in a way that it will promote positive living, take special care to buy comfortable seating, good lighting, and you will create a welcoming home. You will know hygge when you feel it.
Relax around the open wood fire, spend quality time with your family and friends. Keep things simple and just indulge in good things in life. In Scandinavian interior style you will see a lot of white and ivory tones. To cold for you for winter? Different textures, such as heavy knit, wool and mohair fabrics will make it look cosy. As Danes love nature and would take a forest inside if possible you know immediately that wood will be present in their homes. And this is not necessarily the wood for the fire place, it can be a wooden table, a chair.
When the days are short we need to feel good inside our home, good company can make a big difference. Where better to spend this time together than around the table, enjoying a home made meal. The smell of fresh baked bread, coffee, or a cake coming out of the oven. Danish people also like to cook together, it is not about making a 2 star dinner, it is about enjoying being together in harmony and eat food made with love. Good company will bring out the best in you.
Hygge is of all seasons, so it is not only sitting around the open fireplace with candle light. Now that the autumn is still giving us some extra warm days: get out outdoors, put on a warm sweater, some hand knitted socks, take a blanket with and have a last picnic outside. Hygge is also about gratitude: being thankful for the things you have.
Although hygge encourages togetherness, you can also achieve it alone. Being nice to yourself after a hard day at work. A warm bath, with, yes, some candles to create a bit of magic. Maybe you want to cuddle in the corner of your sofa under a blanket with a good book, an old fashion paper book, not an electronic book. Imagine the smell of those pages, or to feel the leather cover. Hygge is a lot about the senses.
Treat yourself well, find pleasure in the small and ordinary things of life. It is not about grand gestures, try to embrace the small luxuries in everyday life such as having time for yourself to do the things you dream of. Put down that phone so nobody can disturb you and start writing, knitting, painting or whatever dream you want to realize.
A lot of houses in Denmark will have a bow window, it is a well-defined corner. This limited space will protect you, comfort you, and you will grasp as much as possible day light in the dark months. No bow window? No problem you will have your preferred little corner where you, wrapped in a blanket, want to hide and just enjoy a good book.
Get comfy, take a break: it is all about relaxation.
Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institiute, wrote his best-selling book Hygge after spending years of studying Danish way of living. This inspiring book will bring you tips and tricks for the right lighting, planning a party, how to dress and much more.
Helen Russell, a British journalist who wrote “The Year of Living Danishly,” defines hygge as “taking pleasure in the presence of gentle, soothing things,” like a freshly brewed cup of coffee and cashmere socks.
so what are the essentials to create hygge at your home
- create atmosphere with candles
- outdoor elements
- treat yourself with sweets and hot drinks: cocoa - tea - mulled wine
- cozy blanket
- get comfy with a warm sweater and socks
- a good book
- roaring fire
- be present, close your phone
- be grateful and share
- create a safe space to meet family and friends
Lets get inspired by Denmark, as is often said to be the happiest country in the world? What do you say, shall we bring a bit more hygge in our life this year? It is all about living in the moment.