At the beginning of the year, I read The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking, “Yes! This is exactly how I aspire to live!”
In case you’re unsure what hygge is (and it’s pronounced hoo-guh or hooga, because I definitely said it wrong at first), the introduction of the book tries to sum it up. It is a bit tricky to define, but here’s a quote to help:
Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with 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.
I love the idea described here, but hygge has also been simplified as “coziness.” While that’s probably an overly-simplified definition, I’m totally on board with that too.
There are chapters about food, light, clothing, Christmas, and the importance of togetherness that give you ideas on what hygge is and how to incorporate it into your life. The Danes are considered some of the happiest people in the world, and Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, thinks hygge is a major contributing factor.
For more information on hygge, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s an easy read and I felt very hyggelig (hygge-like) during the process. It gave me a lot of ideas on little ways I could add hygge to my life all year round to improve happiness and bring balance. So, without further ado, here’s how I plan to do it:
Light more candles. If you want to take anything away about hygge, it’s how important light is. Candles seem the best way to achieve the greatest, warm, soft lighting and I’ve definitely fallen in love with them in the past year. But I also know I can up my candle game.
Drink more tea. I’ve been meaning to do this anyways because there is something comforting about a warm cup of tea before bed. I want to try some new teas and add it to my night time routine, even if the habit only lasts during the colder months.
Have cozy nights in with friends. The introvert/homebody side of me loves staying in, but it’s even better in good company. Meik (yes, we’re on a first name basis) talks about having friends over to cook together and that is something I want to do more of. I still remember a make-your-own pizza night we had in high school and how much fun it was. Honestly, a lot of my favorite high school memories revolve around having a night in at a friend’s house. I want to bring that back, even if that means hosting. So, any of my friends out there reading this, let’s plan something soon!
Cook lunch during the week. This also helps with one of my yearly goals of eating better and spending less, but cooking is very hygge. Granted, most of the hyggelig foods aren’t necessarily healthy (there’s a few recipes in the book), but cooking forces me to slow down and appreciate my food. I am very guilty of waiting until the last minute when I’m starving and then just eating some quick, and usually unhealthy, just so I can move onto the next thing. And with my schedule, I’m home everyday during the week at lunch time, whereas dinner I’m often out teaching, so I think it’s the perfect time to slow down and have a true meal.
Silence my phone when interacting with others. I love my phone. I love social media. I hate leaving notifications unread. I also have a hard time switching off. I know I’m not the only one guilty of checking my phone when out to dinner, or especially at a social event, but I also know it’s rude and I need to stop. Those are the times I really need to be present, in the moment. When we have conversations, we are exchanging energy, and I can’t let it be one-sided. I think this one will be the hardest, but also the most beneficial.
Bake. A very hyggelig activity, and actually something I enjoy but don’t do enough of.
These are not the only ways to bring hygge into your life, but this is where I’m going to start. You are welcome to join me, and if you haven’t, check out the book for more information and inspiration. You can find it here, here, or here.