Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Embracing Hygge For The Winter



Hi-gge, Hoo-gar or however you're meant to pronounce it, has been somewhat of a buzz word in 2016, sweeping social media with a promise of that infamous Danish happiness. 
         But what really is hygge and how are we meant to achieve such an instagrammable 'high' in dreary ole' blighty?! 

Well, with the help of Meik Wiking's book "The little book of Hygge", I aim to give you a handy little list of ways to incorporate some Hyggestund (A moment of Hygge) into our daily lives this winter. 

          So the big question: 

What the hell is Hygge and why should I care? 

Meik writes that "Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home." 
Which all sounds pretty Disney in its idealistic notion that "home is where the heart is" and such other cliches. But it really seems like the Danish are perhaps on to something...

Denmark was awarded No 1: World Happiness in 2016 and was No 1: OECD Better Life Index. Life Satisfaction in 2015. YET, Denmark sees some of the highest levels of tax and weather wise it is rather grotty, to say the least. 

So why are they so happy? 

Meik suggests this is in part down to the importance of Hygge in Danish society. 

So how can we Brits, renowned for our general cynicism about pretty much everything (except tea and marmite), introduce some of this cuddly and borderline obnoxious happiness into our day-to-day lives? 

Well, I've got 10 tips on how to do just that: 

1. Candles, all the Candles. - Lighting is apparently quite a big deal to the Danes, probably because in the winter they have very few hours of sunlight. Candles are a pretty common way of injecting cosiness into our lives and I feel like this is already a pretty popular trend in the western world as it is. However, apparently, there is no need to splash out on some scented delight from Yankee to create your Hyggelig environment. Plain unscented candles are favoured by the danish as its all to do with the soft lighting and not so much about having your room smell like a victorian pantry.

2. Fluffy Socks. - Cosiness is paramount to hygge and nothing screams comfort quite like a super fluffy, soft pair of socks. 

3.Put down the phone & pick up a book. - You've got a candle burning and your feet are resembling a Yeti. Put down your phone and live in the moment, Social media can often be overwhelming and is definitely not conducive to a hyggelig evening. I like to switch off from the internet & media and spend a couple of hours reading with Dan at night. It's so relaxing and it's much easier to put down a book to chat than it is a laptop/phone. 

4. Wrap up warm & go for a winter walk. - I did this the other weekend with Dan and my family, it was so lovely to walk down to the seaside and see the sunset over the sea (you could make a tongue twister out of that!). It felt truly hygge as it was a moment of family & togetherness totally forgetting about the outside world and focusing on the beauty of the moment. Best of all... it was totally free! 


5. Comfort Food. - This isn't so much about ordering in a takeaway but more about taking the care and time to create something comforting. For me, that is definitely my Butternut Squash & Halloumi Fajitas with Homemade Guacamole. This is my go-to comfort meal and my whole family love it as well. The ingredients are fairly inexpensive and it's super easy to cook, but it's such a warming meal and really makes me feel soothed and comforted inside. 

6. Movie/ TV night in. - If you're not bookish and don't fancy leaving the house anytime soon, you can always snuggle down for a few hours in front of the box. Put on a favourite film or watch a TV series you love. Just make sure there is plenty of cushions, a snuggly throw to hand and of course warm popcorn waiting to be devoured. 

7. Hot Drinks. - Be it Tea or Coffee, this is something us Brits will have to queries over. We as a nation are infamous for our love of Tea and it just so happens to be one of the most important aspects of Hygge. If I'm out and about, I will always opt for an Eggnog Latte from Starbucks (if the season permits!) However, for a Hygge evening at home nothing beats M&S Rooibos, Cocoa Nib & Vanilla tea. It's a Hygge hug in a cup. 

8. Create a Hygge work environment. - This may not always be possible depending on where you work, but trying to add some hygge into your work day can really help to make you feel calm and happy(er). Be it a plant on your desk and your favourite tea to drink. Or even just a hyggelig playlist to listen to on your way to and from work, there are always ways to inject that sense of comfort into your day to day life. 
I've recently hygge'd my workspace at home by adding fairy lights, plants, candles and generally decluttering the area. I've noticed my productivity go up and I'm feeling more motivated than ever to get writing!

9. Hyggelig Fashion. - According to Meik, there are some unspoken rules when it comes to Hygge fashion. The basis seems to be: Scarfs, Comfy Jumpers & Cardigans + all the black and white clothing that you can possibly get your hands on. 
Hygge fashion seems to be minimalist comfort through and through and I am totally down with that!

10. Allow time for Hygge. - Finally, the most important aspect of Hygge is to slow down. Make time to experience hygge. Even if you're only able to indulge yourself at the weekend, or maybe just an hour on Sunday, make sure you do so. To me, Hygge is more than beautiful aesthetics and Disney-esqe levels of happiness, it's instead like another form of self-care. It's giving yourself time to assess your needs and comfort yourself. So when you strip back the pinterest worthy look and social media frenzy, what you really get is the age-old notion of simply and unapologetically allowing yourself time just to be. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  

I hope you have a hyggelig evening! 

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2 comments

  1. I've always wanted to know exactly what Hygge is, thank you for sharing!

    Parie x
    Class and Glitter

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  2. I've somehow managed to build up everything in my life to be hygge without even realising that it had a name until recently, now I'm coming across it everywhere! Love this post :) I've written lots about it too recently!
    Sian xx Rebel Angel

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