Truth time: I have been wondering, “What is hygge?” for a while now. I was seeing it pop up a ton on Pinterest, but hadn’t really done any reading up on it. Chalk it up to being too lazy to actually investigate it.
Then, I connected with a fellow blogger on Twitter who posted a great article about it, and I was officially intrigued. I discovered that is was less of a “thing,” and more of a feeling.
My friend describes it so nicely here, so I will just go ahead and let her do that. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Philippa!
I discovered Hygge entirely by accident. I was just getting into Pinterest for my blog, pinning every day, and there it was. All over my Pinterest feed. This word that I didn’t know (and couldn’t pronounce).
Out of sheer curiosity I read a couple of the posts, and they led me to Meik Wiking’s ‘The Little Book of Hygge’. A from there, this little treasure entered my life.
So what is Hygge?
Hygge, which is pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ (don’t worry though if you’ve been pronouncing it hi-gee, because I still do), is a Danish word that actually has no English translation. It refers to a feeling, something you can create in your environment, not a physical thing.
It’s the feeling you get when you’re sat by an open fire, under a blanket, reading a book and drinking a warm drink. Or when you are having a cosy night in with some of your favourite people.
It’s also entirely personal. What feels Hyggelit to me may not feel Hyggelit to you.
The main words associated with it are warm, cosy, calm, pleasant and comfortable. So it must be good!
How can you create Hygge in your home?
The Little Book of Hygge breaks down all the different areas in your home, and life, to help you maximise the Hygge around you.
Here are just a few of those ways.
It may sound like a funny word, but a Hyggekrog is basically a nook dedicated to the feeling of Hygge.
It can be anywhere in your home, a chair in your living room or bedroom, the windowsill in your kitchen. Just a cosy space where you can sit and relax with a drink and a book, and just feel warm inside.
You can fill your Hyggekrog with blankets, cushions, anything comfortable that you enjoy, and welcomes you in. I personally love the idea of a little nook in the window of my home, looking out into the garden. I’d have my morning coffee there every day and get ready for a new day in the best way possible!
Lighting is quite important in creating Hygge. Overhead lighting is often abandoned in favour of lamps and less harsh light. Dimmer switches are also great, put your lights on low and feel the calm sweep over you!
Another great way to do this if you have no lamps or dimmer switches is candles.
Denmark actually burns more candles per person per year than in any other European country. They just love candles. And candles are great for Hygge!
Fill your home up with candles, there can never be too many. Think of the episode of Friends with the blackout – that’s the kind of aesthetic we’re going for here.
(But if you are lighting a lot of candles it is important to crack open a window after, as they can cause a lot of pollution that isn’t good for your lungs!)
Reading has a massive Hygge factor. You may have noticed I’ve used it in both of my analogies in this post. Because that is what Hygge looks like to me – sat somewhere cosy reading a book.
In reality though I’m not a big reader. If you’re like me there are so many other things you can do. Writing is another big Hygge hobby, as is drawing, knitting, basically anything you can do while snuggled down under a blanket.
If you’re a social person, then meeting with people for coffee and cake and having a good wholesome time together is also Hyggelit.
The possibilities are endless really, so go on our there and have a Hyggelit time!
Why create Hygge?
I don’t think I need to tell you the health benefits of relaxation, but Hygge is just such a great way to relax.
If you’ve had a stressful day at work, or have something important coming up, it can just be nice to sit and be cosy in whatever way you choose. The warmth it fills you up with is so soothing, it can make even the worst of days seem like a distant memory.
It’s also great for your mental health, again for the relaxation factor. If I’m having a bad mental health day my go to thing is to wear my comfiest pyjamas, put my weighted blanket over me, under another fluffy blanket, and just watch TV with a cup of tea or coffee. It’s like having a big hug from the universe.
It doesn’t take away my mental illness but it does help me through the bad days! Even if I’m at work it’s something I look forward to.
Not just for winter.
Hygge is mostly associated with winter, but it’s still a great thing for summer too.
I love sitting outside on those warm summer evenings, eating good food or sitting by a bonfire, and just watching the sunset. That’s all Hygge.
You could also take photographs, go for walks in the woods, make ham or ice cream, or just spend time in your garden. There are no bounds to how our when, it can be everywhere!
So what are you waiting for?
If you’re really interested in learning more I thoroughly enjoyed reading Meik Wiking’s ‘The Little Book of Hygge’. I can’t recommend it enough.
But it’s so easy to create, that no reading list is necessary. Just have a play around with the things you love and discover what Hygge truly means for you.
About the Author
Philippa Claire is a mental health and chronic illness blogger based in Cheltenham, UK. Over on http://philippaclaire.com she writes about her experiences with depression and anxiety, which she’s suffered from since childhood, and M.E. which she was diagnosed with nearly 4 years ago.
Follow her on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilippaClaire
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