Cosyness. Comfort. Sense of well-being. There’s lots of different ways to understand hygge – the Danish practice of creating little moments, whether it’s just a coffee or having friends over for a dinner, feel relaxed and content.
(In case you were wondering, we have it under expert authority it’s pronounced hue-guh )
But the truth is that this isn’t just a Danish idea. The Swedish call it mysigt – coupled in with the Norwegians who also have their own version of hygge, koseligt.
Regardless of who came up with the idea first, we’re pretty sure our Scandinavian neighbours know a thing or two about making winter a little more enjoyable. After all, Denmark have fewer daylight hours in winter and yet they still rank amongst the happiest people in the world.
So if you’re feeling the hygge craze like us, here’s how to deliver some into your own home.
Sure, a big part of enjoying hygge (as you’ll soon see) is creating a lovely and warm atmosphere for your friends and family to enjoy. But at its most basic level this wonderfully Scandinavian concept is about being in the moment. If you’ve just moved to London from warmer climes like New Zealand or Australia, it may take a bit of mental adjustment to live in the moment when that moment is freezing cold and bleak, but it’s important.
Putting aside your stresses of the day – and making sure the topic of conversation is welcome for everyone – goes a long way. As does avoiding the temptation to moan about your bad day in the office.
Instead, hygge is all about enjoying the right here and now.
We’re not saying this is always easy. Being mindful is a skill in itself. We also have the sneaking suspicion that the shorter-than-average Danish working day might give them an unfair advantage over us.
Creating a comfortable setting
If you’ve heard about hygge before, then you probably know that everyone seems to be preoccupied with candles and mood lighting.
Bear with us, though, there’s good reason behind this.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re with friends or curled up on the sofa while there’s a gale blowing outside. Soft, gentle light is a quick (and cheap) way to make everything feel more relaxed. It signifies the day is slowly winding down. And it helps create a cosy retreat from the end of a hard working day.
Blankets never hurt anyone either.
Do what you love
Does the thought of diving nose-first into a good book make your toes wiggle? Or would you prefer going to the pub and enjoying one or two with your mates on the weekend?
Good. Channel it.
You’ve probably already guessed hygge is a pretty open concept. That’s because feeling relaxed and doing what you love is entirely unique to you. There’s no right or wrong answers.
It’s what makes hygge a bit of an art form, really. Learning to switch off and find some me-time can take a lot of practice. But if this happy bunch in Denmark can lead the way – and it seems it’s working – there’s no reason we can’t learn a thing or two either.
Do you have any tips on how to make your home more hygge? Tell us how it’s done on Twitter.