There’s never been a better time to get a bit of hygge in your life. Here’s how perfecting this Danish tradition could boost your mood this winter.
Hygge, pronounced hoo-guh, , it’s the delightfully indulgent yet simple concept of “getting cozy” – think candles, blankets, roaring fires and toasting marshmallows. What could be nicer with Christmas upon us?
Hygge might be a fairly recent addition to our lives here in Blighty and over in the US, but it’s been a way of life in Denmark since the 18th century and is all about creating a warm, intimate atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy life. Danish winters can be long and dark, yet it’s a country that consistently ranks as one of the happiest places in the world. They must be doing something right, huh?
The concept isn’t something you buy, rather something you feel. It’s that glow of contentment. It’s the moment you feel so relaxed your heartbeat slows and you forget to look at the clock. At the core of this wonderfully relaxing tradition is the joy you get from switching off from everything around you. It’s feeling warm, comfortable and cozy while living in the moment. You may have experienced hygge before without even knowing.
Create hygge in your home
Bringing hygge to your home and, indeed, other areas of your life is remarkably simple and inexpensive…
Let there be light
First on the list of creating your hygge environment is setting the scene with the perfect lighting. As you might expect, dim, natural light makes us feel more relaxed – think candles, open fires, lanterns and lamps. Fairy lights are particularly mesmerizing and atmospheric. Avoid harsh bulbs, LED lights and blue light from phone and tablet screens. That’s right; this is a tech-free zone!
Feast fit for a Queen
Once your lighting is set, it’s onto the food. Hygge is all about wholesome and indulgent foods. Think a warming mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows idly bobbing on top and a wholesome bowl of piping hot stew. For desert, a generous helping of steaming rice pudding with a rich berry compote or a hunk of dark chocolate and cherry gateau. Hygge foods by their very nature are rich, decadent and warming, but with plenty of health benefits to boot. It’s not about fast food or takeaways, but home-cooked meals with plenty of oomph!
My top-tip – add a little grated nutmeg to your festive dishes and bakes. Packed with antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s said to help reduce pain, ease anxiety, boost libido and aid sleep. Plus its warm, nutty flavors partner perfectly with comfort food dishes!
Wrap up warm
Next up is my favorite bit of all – getting cozy! In hygge world, there’s no such thing as too many blankets or cushions. Find a spot where you want to unwind, be it your living room, bedroom, or even outside on the veranda in front of the fire pit, and lay down your rugs, blankets, cushions and duvets. Any will do – it doesn’t have to be perfect, just so long as it’s comfy. Create a safe, cozy cocoon where you can kick back and relax alone or with friends. And don’t forget to don your softest bed socks and fluffiest sweater, too.
Live in the moment
So often we reflect on how much we enjoyed an event, but did we appreciate it at the time? To really embrace hygge, you need to be ‘in the moment’. When you’re with your friends, say out loud that you’re having a lovely time. When relaxing, remark on the little details and take in the sights, sounds and smells. Only then will you truly embrace the present and forget about your worries and your strife.
So there you have it! Hygge doesn’t require huge effort or expense – it’s a beautifully simplistic phenomenon and perfect for embracing over winter as a welcome escape from reality. So why not bring a bit of Danish coziness to your world this Christmas?
Merry Christmas, dear friends x