If you’re an avid blog reader, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Danish tradition of hygge over the past year.
Pronounced “hoo-gah” (its adjective is even better: hyggeligt, pronounced “hoo-gah-lee”), hygge can translate to “cozy,” and who doesn’t love that? It especially is attractive in the cold winter months. Multiple books have come out on the subject just this year, and even the New York Times has caught on to the trend.
However, in recent months it’s become so hyped that many are now considering the concept overrated, a trend that offers one more thing to strive for (think the vintage allure of Anthropologie or the casual elegance of Kinfolk), which I think is fair. The popular aesthetic of white walls, natural light, warm woodwork, and lush plants is very Danish, after all, as are the back-to-basics hobbies such as gardening, cycling, baking, and knitting. (There’s even a restaurant the just serves porridge in Copenhagen, referred to as a “porridge bar.” Hygge factor: 10.)
But here’s the thing: The Danes are the happiest people on earth. Sure, this has to do with the many benefits of living in Denmark (lengthy parental leave and vacation, free health care and education, etc.), but it also has to do with a way of being. While many who are intrigued by the Danish tradition consider hygge to be about candles, blankets, soft lighting, and good books, in the end, it’s really about being fully present: to place, to self, and to those you share life with.
To the Danes, hygge is less about a particular aesthetic and more about feelings of belonging, conviviality, and contentment, so essential for the soul. In that sense, hygge could almost be considered a spiritual practice: a stance and attunement that helps you return to your true self and pay closer attention to the many blessings and Sacred stirrings that surround you.
Want to bring hygge into your home?
5 WAYS TO PRACTICE HYGGE
- Invite friends over for a casual, intimate meal and linger in conversation after all the food is gone. (Bonus points for eating by candlelight.)
- Find a cozy nook in your home and make it your own—a place where you can always settle in and simply be. (There’s a word for these cozy nooks, too: hyggekrog.)
- Turn off the TV and step away from the Internet and instead play a game, listen to some music, or bake a special treat (to be later enjoyed with a hot cup of tea in your hyggekrog).
- Bundle up and take a walk outside, enjoying the unique beauty of winter (and spot a few hopeful bulbs breaking through!).
- Visit a favorite coffee shop alone or with a friend, sit by the window, and watch the world pass by (journal and accompanying deep thoughts welcome.)
Set aside time for hygge this weekend. It’s a little sabbath-like, no?