In need of a little rest and relaxation? Sounds kind of silly since we have been in lockdown for the last few months, but hear me out. Just because our lives have changed, maybe we aren’t as busy working or running around doing errands or playing chauffeur, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t stressed and in need of a break. Especially if we have developed the bad habit of watching the news 24/7. Incorporating ways to live a more Hygge life is the perfect way to reset, re-focus and take care of ourselves so that we can carry on and be the best we can be, even in uncertain times.
Hygge (which is pronounced hue-gah) is described as being a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, which is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.
A somewhat trendy term, Hygge exploded into the worldwide consciousness in 2016 and has become a popular movement in which moments are deliberately recognized and enjoyed.
‘Hygge is about an atmosphere or an experience… It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.’ – The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking.
How Do I Live A Hygge Lifestyle?
1. Give yourself permission for ‘me time.’ Even just on one day a week, leave work on time or stop working on time if you are working from home right now. Take half an hour for yourself in an evening or at the weekend. Remember that you are as important as everyone else, and that there is nothing wrong with doing almost nothing – great for both the mental and physical well-being!
2. Create a Hygge environment. Find a corner and fill your space with cosy blankets and comfortable cushions. Stoke up the fire, if you have one. Candles are a huge obsession within the Hygge community – creating a calming atmosphere with the flickering light of a candle can immediately relax the mood. Bring the outside indoors with the introduction of plants and flowers. Add fairy lights.
3. Surround yourself with things that you love. With a similar (although slightly more relaxed) mindset to Marie Kondo’s decluttering guidelines, Hygge encourages surrounding yourself with items that make you happy and boost your mood.
4. Wear comfortable loungewear clothing – chunky knitwear and sweaters, warm and comfortable socks and baggy T-shirts and pants are perfect items to wear when relaxing at home. The Danish actually have a term for this: Hyggebukser, for example, is a pair of pants that you wouldn’t be seen wearing outside but practically live in within your own home.
5. Go outside. A common misconception of Hygge is that it is a solitary practice that requires isolation at home, but going outside and taking in your surrounding can equally be as beneficial as relaxing indoors. Go for a walk and pay attention to your surroundings and the air (even if the weather isn’t great) and stop to take deep breaths and appreciate where you are.
6. Get together with small groups of friends. Spending time in the company of people you enjoy will always help to boost the mood. Host a games night, watch a film or take part in sports together, but remember to keep the group small – inviting a larger group may mean it has the opposite effect and becomes more stressful than enjoyable.
7. Indulge in some homemade comfort food. The act of preparing, cooking or baking and then eating your favourite comfort foods is a great way to adopt a more Hygge lifestyle. Use natural and fresh ingredients to make warm and hearty soups, casseroles and stews, freshly-baked bread, pies and cakes – anything that can be cooked and enjoyed slowly will add to that warm and comforting feeling.
8. Enjoy making hot drinks. Hot drinks are perfectly designed for a Hygge lifestyle as they require slow consumption – hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, cinnamon lattes and cappuccinos are the perfect drinks to enjoy on a cold day.
9. Create a relaxing playlist. From slow, relaxing pieces of classical music to your favourite rock anthems, play your favourite songs and take the time to actually listen to them, rather than simply using it as background noise.
10. Read your favourite book. Allow yourself to get lost in what you are reading. Indulge in some frivolous fiction. I personally love to read personal development books but I find that it gets me charged up. There is nothing wrong with reading romance or fantasy. In fact, I encourage you to make sure you do to help you escape and dream!
11. Switch off the technology. While your favourite TV programmes and movies are an acceptable part of the Hygge movement, using phones, tables and the internet can reduce quality time and actually add to stress levels. Put the phone down for a few hours.
12. Create a Hygge life in every season. Remember that, while Hygge is perfectly designed for the colder months, it is possible to live a Hygge lifestyle no matter what the weather is like outside. Go for a picnic with family or friends at the park or on the beach during the summer months, lie on a blanket on the grass and watch a sunset or look at the stars, go camping or stay in a cabin and cook outside, host a barbecue and invite people round. Replace warm comfort foods with tasty salads.
More ways to life a Hygge Life:
- Avoid multitasking.
- Roast marshmallows on a fire.
- Go berry picking or visit a local farmers market.
- Make ice-cold homemade lemonade, ice-cream or popsicles.
- Get creative! Draw, paint, colour, sketch or write.
- Do nothing! Stay in bed, get some extra sleep and make no apologies for it!
- See an art exhibition and find beautiful pieces that you connect with.
- Watch the birds in the garden.
- Create a home spa. Get some fluffy towels, run a hot bubble bath and indulge in your favourite products.
From reading a book or spending time with family and friends to cooking a warm and comforting meal, indulging in Hygge has the ability to improve mental health and wellbeing every day. Remember that a Hygge lifestyle is about focusing on your happiness, living more simply and feeling more fulfilled.