The term Hygge has been thrown about quite a lot recently. Last year saw the publication of several books that talked about this subject, and the consumer sector has also jumped on the bandwagon. The word hygge (pronounce /hue- gah/) originates from Norwegian and was embraced by the Danes in the 1800s.
Helen Russell, a writer and journalist who moved to Denmark in 2013 and has since written a book about her first year there, describes it as “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things”. Candlelight is hygge, bakeries are hygge, bike rides are hygge. It’s being cosy but at the same time it’s so much more than that.
If you have ever travelled to Scandinavia in winter, you will know daytime is practically nonexistent. How, then, is it possible that Danes are the happiest country? This is where we show up consumerism. It’s not about having things, but about appreciating moments. It’s about spending time with family and friends, and investing in the community – thus, you end up with a happier society. Miek Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute (the fact that there is a Happiness Research Institute is amazing) says that “studies show a clear link between gratitude and wellbeing. But another important thing to remember when it comes to understanding hygge is that it’s about experiences rather than stuff”.
And while there are a lot of differences in terms of laws (paid paternity leave, shorter working hours because leisure time is important) and customs (foraging for foliage to celebrate Yule) Danes appreciate the simple things: going for a coffee with a friend; staying in with a blanket, a book and candlelight; taking part in societies and hobbies. Doesn’t this sound like a great attitude to have? Rather than looking out and wanting what you don’t have, look inside and appreciate what you do have. And if you can, help others get to the point where they are contempt. Let’s try and be more hygge this year.
Think twice when buying something; can you live without a bigger TV if the one you already have is perfectly functional? If you want to spend your money, perhaps put it some place where it’s needed. Learn to fix things, spend time with loved ones, take up a new activity, go outdoors more often.
So, the breakdown. What can you do to make your life more Hygge?
- Go to coffee shops
- Have candles
- And blankets
- Use nature indoors
- Get cosy
- Go outdoors more
- Join a club or society
- Spend time with loved ones
Well will be sharing what hygge things you can do throughout the seasons this year both on the blog and on social media, so make sure you follow us on there! What are you going to do to have a more hygge year?