Recently I came across the concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) -- a Danish word that doesn't have an exact English equivalent, but means something along the lines of enjoying cozy intimacy, celebrating by candlelit surrounded by friends, feeling content in the moment -- and I instantly became obsessed. Hygge is about finding meaning in the ordinary aspects of life. It's about exploring and celebrating daily luxuries, and connecting in a mindful way with the people around you. It's about comfort and kinship and coziness. And it's awesome.
Ever since the weather turned a bit colder this autumn, I've been working on creating a very hygge environment (even before I knew about the concept!). Here are some of my favorite ideas for creating more hygge in your life!
TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS
The right lighting is key for peak hygge. To create a cozier vibe, turn down (or off!) the lights, light some candles, and string up some Christmas lights (or fairy lights, as they say in the UK -- a term that instantly makes them feel extra magical!). Adjusting the lighting of any room is a quick (and usually easy!) way to make your home feel more hygge.
CLOTHE IN COZINESS
Crank up the cozy factor in your life by donning some snuggly attire. (Admittedly, this one probably only works if you live in a cold place, but still!) To feel hygge everywhere you go, swaddle yourself in cozy sweaters, soft scarves, wool socks, or any other kinds of clothes that make you feel cozy.
CURL UP WITH A BOOK
While hygge often has to do with sharing warm moments with loved ones, there's something very hygge about curling up with a good book, especially one that might have a hygge-ish theme (I'm looking at you, cheesy Christmas, chick-lit!). Extra hygge points if you curl up in cozy socks with a candle lit!
SEEK SOME SNUGGLES
Hygge doesn't have to involve others, but snuggling sure does up the coziness factor! If you have a loved one you can curl up with on the couch, go for it. If, like me, you're rolling solo, snuggle up with your pet. If no loved ones or pets are available, volunteer at a local animal shelter -- free cuddles and you'll be doing a good deed!
RELAX IN THE BATH
When was the last time you allowed yourself to take a time out and soak in a relaxing, warm bath? Most of us don't make time for this solitude and relaxation, but it can be a very hygge thing to do. Not only does bathing have some great health benefits, it's also a perfect way to warm up on a cold day!
HOST A GATHERING
This time of year, there's usually no lack of social events (or obligations, depending on how you feel about socializing!), but most of them aren't intimate affairs. Hygge seems to be all about the small, cozy gatherings of close friends. Instead of throwing a holiday party, consider hosting a small gathering for just a few good friends.
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN
Though I'm entirely certain if this is a hygge thing or just a Danish thing, but it seems like a lot of hygge images focus on bringing elements of the outside (branches, fresh bunches of holly, sprigs of spruce, etc.) inside. To add a touch of hygge to your decor, consider adding some natural, wooden elements to your home.
FIND A ROARING FIRE
Nothing says hygge quite like a roaring fire, amiright? If you have a fireplace, kindle that wood and snuggle up by the flames. If, like me, you're not lucky enough to have a fireplace, find a friend who does -- or a restaurant or other place where it's acceptable to sit by the fireplace -- and set up a fireside date!
BRING IN THE BLANKETS
Recently I discovered that I own 15 blankets. Fifteen. For one person. A bit excessive? Absolutely. But I love blankets (and I always have -- as a kid I used to carry around my "blankie" and stuffed "doggy" everywhere, which I suppose isn't all that different from me as an adult!). Find a soft blanket (or two) and have it nearby for instant hygge.
SIP A WARMING DRINK
Hygge isn't just what's around you; it's also what you put into you. Add hygge to almost any meal by choosing a warm drink -- coffee, cocoa, tea -- over what you usually drink. Not only will it warm you up, but a hot drink just feels cozy. (Bonus tip: put it in a giant mug and hold it with both hands for a very hygge look and feel.)
PUT DOWN THE PHONE
As much as I love my phone, it's not a very hygge object. Hygge is all about being content and cozy in the moment, and staring at screen definitely takes away from that. Create a bit of hygge every day by putting your electronic devices away for a little bit and focusing on something in the moment -- a book, friends, your pet, etc.
Just writing about these hygge tips put me in a cozy mood (in fact, halfway through, I paused to read my book in a candle-lit bath!), and I hope they inspire you to create an intimate, connected, warm, and comforting environment. This time of year can really increase stress (even if it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year!) so it's important to take time to focus on making the most of your moments and finding coziness and relaxation where you can. Happy hyggeing!