Have you heard of hygge? It’s a Danish concept that’s focused on the home. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it’s essentially about making your house a cosy, comfortable place in the colder weather, where you can focus on the small things in life that make you feel happy and fulfilled. Think a delicious hot chocolate in a big mug, swathes of blankets, dim lights and a good book. Hygge (hew [like threw]-guh) has been huge in Britain over the last few months. There were dozens of books on the subject released over Autumn and they flooded bookstores in the lead-up to Christmas.
I’d never heard of hygge until I started flipping through one of the aforementioned books while browsing a store in December. As an Australian experiencing her first northern hemisphere winter, it was a concept I was immediately drawn to. For me it hasn’t really been the cold that’s bothered me, rather it’s the short days I’ve noticed the most. It’s dark a lot and I can understand why people develop Seasonal Affective Disorder now. Hygee it’s all about encouraging you and your family’s wellbeing during the long cold winter months. Denmark has topped the United Nations World Happiness Report twice (it’s been a top five country in the five years the report’s been compiled), so they’re obviously onto something.
Since I discovered hygge, I’ve been trying to introduce it into my day-to-day living. Instead of getting disheartened at the current 4:18pm sunset (with a 8:15am sunrise!), I’ve turned drawing the curtains of an afternoon into a ritual. I switch on lamps and fairylights (which we’ve reappropriated now Christmas is over) around the house, which add a lovely glow and make myself a cup of tea, while trying to knock over a few pages in whatever book I’m reading.
Adam’s 2017 hobby (read obsession!) is baking bread. Often he’ll make tomorrow’s loaf before we cook dinner, so our afternoon cuppa is increasingly being accompanied by a slice of fresh, warm bread spread with butter, honey and dusted with salt flakes. It’s a nice way to wind down after the day and an opportunity to sit quietly for a few minutes and chat about our days.
Of an evening Adam and I will listen to music and read (occasionally while enjoying a glass of Australian shiraz!) It creates this wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and you go to bed with a clear mind.
Hygge is something I’d like to keep up even when the weather warms. I’m imagining fresh flowers, open windows, elderflower spritzers and bowls of jewel-like berries. It’s also increased my desire for a Scandinavian holiday over the next 12 months tenfold!
What I really like about hygge though, is that it’s something you can create in your own home too with either little or no expense. It’s not about having designer throw blankets, or fancy scented candles, it’s more about creating that feeling of loveliness by changing your mindset. You can use what you’ve got around you to do that. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised :). Happy hygee-ing! x