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Let me give you a hygge 🤗

“The world is a place where the extraordinary can sit beside the ordinary with the thinnest of boundaries.” – Jodi Picoult

Let me give you a hygge

Did you mean a hug…? A hygge? What is hygge exactly?

Think of the small pleasure in life. You are lying in bed on a rainy weekend day, under the covers with a good movie to watch , a hot cup of tea, and nowhere to be & nothing to do.

This is feeling of warmth, cosiness, deep comfort and relaxation which is known as hygge!

So, what exactly is hygge?

Some definitions:

Hygge a Scandinavian term encompasses a feeling of cosiness, contentment, and well-being found through cherishing of the little things.1 Hygge derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.2

The Danish concept of hygge, or hyggelig , refers to finding comfort, pleasure, and warmth in doing simple, soothing activities, such as within a cozy atmosphere or the feeling of friendship.3

Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy,” to “the coziness of the soul,” and even, “cocoa by candlelight.”  In the book,  The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (The Happiness Institute Series) 4 the author, Wiking, explains that you know hygge when you feel it;  that some of the key ingredients are togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence, and comfort.

“The true essence of hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and it’s basically like a hug, just without the physical touch,” he says.5

In 2016, one of the candidates for Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year was “hygge.” Pronounced “HUE-guh,” this Danish word has no exact equivalent in English. Its closest translation is “cosiness,” but it means a lot more than that. It ties in ideas of companionship, wholesomeness, and contentment, all wrapped up into one harmonious whole.6

However, with all the above definitions, no concise definition really gets at the heart of what hygge means, however you know when you are experiencing it , and the feeling & experience can be created to some extent by changing your environment and by doing these ‘Hygge’ activities.

A better way to understand Hygge,  is to look at ‘things’ that people describe as hygge and what they have in common. The Hygge lifestyle tends to show up & share the five main features below7:

Comfort

In his book, Wiking relates one of his favourite hygge memories, where he was  spending Christmas Day with a group of friends in a cabin in the woods. After a long hike in the snow, they sit together around a log fire, dressed in sweaters and wool socks, sipping mulled wine. The whole scene exudes comfort: the warmth and crackle of the fire, the cosy sweaters, the hot wine, all set against the cold, snowy background.

Companionship

. Another thing that makes Wiking’s scene so perfectly hygge is the group of friends sharing it. You can do hygge things by yourself, such as sitting on the couch with a book, a blanket, and a cup of tea, but it’s twice as ‘hygge’ to share experiences with others. Small gatherings are best for this purpose; it’s much cosier to spend time with a few close friends than with a big group of strangers…

Relaxation.

This isn’t the same thing as sitting still and doing nothing. For instance, taking a walk through the woods on a fall day, especially with a group of friends, can be very hygge – but it has to be a leisurely walk. Getting some exercise is fine, but any suggestion of haste or hurry spoils the mood. Claus Meyer, a Danish chef, explains in the New York Times article that when Danes gather for a meal, they often start with appetizers, then go out for a two-hour walk before the main meal. This unhurried pace is part of the hygge experience.

Connection to Nature

Though it’s good to be comfy indoors, a full hygge life involves spending time outdoors too. John Crace of the Happiness Research Institute, writing for The Guardian,8  says Danes even enjoy going out in the rain.

Living hygge means enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature: a thunderstorm outside the window, geese honking overhead, flowers in bloom. Cooking with fresh, natural ingredients is also part of the hygge lifestyle; in “How to Hygge,” Johansen includes recipes for New Nordic Cuisine specialties, such as muesli, fruit compote, and roast lamb. You can give your home a hyggelig feel by bringing the outdoors in with fresh flowers or bare branches, or by turning off the electric lights and lighting some candles so you can watch the flames.

Simplicity.

Hygge is all about enjoying the simple things in life, not chasing after thrills. Beauchamp says it requires “the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.” Sipping your morning coffee in your bathrobe while sitting by an open window – or better still, out on the porch – listening to the birds sing is hygge. Dashing into Starbucks for a to-go cup on your way to work, while simultaneously listening to music and checking Facebook on your phone, is not.

The theme of Hygge and the reflection of the importance of self-care is very dominant. 9

Anthropologist Jeppe Trolle Linnet has penned several prominent research papers on the phenomenon,10 and believes it originated with the introduction of the Danish welfare state. “That created a sense of safety and security for middle-class Danes,” he said. “As a result the culture became focused on the home and the idea of being together in the domestic sphere.”11

Sounds so Hyggelig – so how to practice Hygge  ?

Well you can start by implementing a few of the outlined items below into your environment and wellness routines12:

  • Light Candles everywhere
  • Mountains of warm cosy blankets everywhere
  • Throw pillows. Dozens of them.
  • Teacups and saucers to sip and snack from.
  • Plenty of warm beverages on hand.
  • Soft lighting.
  • Plenty of books to read
  • A drawer of warm socks
  • Indoor natural elements
  • Textures- lots of it
  • Comfort music
  • Classic movies
  • Simple pleasures
  • Comfort foods
  • Fresh flowers
  • Twinkle lights
  • Vintage décor
  • Meaningful art
  • Soft bedding
  • Stationary ( my favourite)
  • Light a fire
  • Play board games
  • Watch TV with Friends
  • Share a meal
  • Take a walk
  • Sing songs
  • Dress comfortably and casually
  • And hugging and snuggling!

Just in time for winter and the cold season!

I hope you take the time to enjoy some to do some Hygge’ activities in your daily life !

I hope you take the time to enjoy the simpler things in life with yourself , some family and or your friends!

Keep warm, stay blessed and humble.

All of my love Tam

References:

  1. Afar Magazone, “Hygge”: The Danish Concept of Comfort We Need Now More Than Ever link: https://www.afar.com/magazine/what-is-hygge-everything-to-know-about-denmarks-cozy-lifestyle
  2. New Yorker.com The year of the Hygge , the Danish obsession with getting cozy, link: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-year-of-hygge-the-danish-obsession-with-getting-cozy
  3. Afar Magazone, “Hygge”: The Danish Concept of Comfort We Need Now More Than Ever link: https://www.afar.com/magazine/what-is-hygge-everything-to-know-about-denmarks-cozy-lifestyle
  4. Amazon , link for The little book of Hygge, Danish Secrets to happy living, The happiness Institute series, author Meik Wiking https://www.amazon.com/Little-Book-Hygge-Danish-Secrets/dp/0062658808?ots=1&slotNum=0&imprToken=8ebc9133-a36c-f617-494&tag=self01b-20&linkCode=w50
  5. Self, I practiced Hygge and its kind of the best thing ever, author Anne Roderique- Jones, link https://www.self.com/story/practicing-hygge-danish-lifestyle
  6. Money Rashers, What is Hygge, How to embrace ythe Danish Lifestyle of Happiness, By Amy Livingstone Link: https://www.moneycrashers.com/hygge-embrace-frugal-danish-lifestyle/
  7. Money Rashers, What is Hygge, How to embrace the Danish Lifestyle of Happiness, By Amy Livingstone Link: https://www.moneycrashers.com/hygge-embrace-frugal-danish-lifestyle/
  8. The Gaudian, The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking , Digest Read, Link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/11/the-little-book-of-hygge-by-meik-wiking-digested-read
  9. Better Humans, A Practical Guide to More Hygge for More Happiness in Your LifeThe Danish have figured out happiness, Andrew Merle, Link: https://betterhumans.pub/get-happy-like-the-danes-a-practical-guide-to-more-hygge-in-your-life-10e1f0b5363d
  10. Academia, Money cant buy me Hygge: Danish Middle Class Consumption , egalitarianism ,and the sanctuary of inner space. Social Analysis Journal of Cultural and Social Practice 2009  https://www.academia.edu/714349/Money_cant_buy_me_hygge_Danish_middle_class_consumption_egalitarianism_and_the_sanctity_of_inner_space
  11. Culture Trip Hygge the Cultural Secret to Denmark happiness , Esme Benjamen Link: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/denmark/articles/hygge-living-denmark-happiness/
  12. The Homespun Hydrangea, what is Hygee and 20 ways to practice Hygge , link https://thehomespunhydrangea.com/hygge-25-ways-practice-hygge/

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