Think about some of the best times in your life. How many of them were times you spent with family or friends, cozied up in a quiet place enjoying simple times with good people? Candles were lit. Maybe there was a storm outside. Maybe there was a game. There was definitely great conversation. Everyone felt included and everyone loved being part of the group.
If you’re like most Americans, these times “just happen”. In Denmark, hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), is about striving to create these times, to be “consciously cozy”. What an awesome choice in a time of uncertainty, unsettling change, and elitism.
Here’s how the Danes define hygge:
- You feel safe.
- You feel included – we’re all in this together.
- Everyone participates; there is a genuine feeling of belonging without making a big deal of it.
- You spend time outside, then cozy up inside.
- You’re relaxed.
- You savor the moment.
- The pace is slow so everyone can unwind.
- Candles are lit.
- Food is important but it’s simple food: Hot chocolate, stew, cake, coffee, a brew.
Here are a few suggestions from a recent podcast on hygge with Tom Ashcroft of On Point for ways to bring more hygge into your life.
- Make a decision to savor the simple pleasures in life, to live a hygge life, and to create hygge experiences.
- Create a comfortable, hygge atmosphere in your house – with lots of wood, good smells, candles, art, and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere where everyone is welcome.
- Spend a quiet Saturday afternoon with quiet music on, sipping tea or coffee as you work on an art project.
- Feel grateful for the time you spend with friends and loved ones. And when you’re with them, be present. Turn off the TV. Tuck the phones away. Get to know one another. What makes your favorite people tick?
- Hold a small hygge gathering on Inauguration Day.
- Become a hygge ambassador. Help others feel safe and assimilated – in your family, at work, and in your neighborhood. Who’s new? Go meet them! Bring them in. There are no strangers in the world – just friends you haven’t met yet.
- Choose hygge activities – like eating in rather than eating out. If you have a choice between going to a large party or small, intimate gathering – go small. Or just stop and relax today with a cup of tea, piece of chocolate, or slice of cake.
- Plan a hygge dinner party with a few friends. Talk about the fact that it’s going to be hygge. Enjoy the hygge when it happens. And reflect back on what a great hygge time you had.
- If you go to a restaurant that feels too ritzy, ask your friends, “Shouldn’t we find something more hyggely?”
- Teach your children about hygge.
- Measure success by your well-being and the quality of your life, not by what you do for work, how much money you make, where you live, or what you own.
- Pursue happiness every day. Look for it. Make it happen.
The Little Book of Hygge by Danish author and Chief Executive at The Happiness Institute, Meik Wiking (pronounced Mike Viking) is already a best seller in the UK. It comes out on 1/17 in the US. I’m on the Amazon waiting list and will post again when I finish what I expect will be a cozy, hygge read.
Want to learn more about hygge now? Here’s a link to a recent article in the NY Times.
In the meantime, please enjoy the moonset and sunrise from this morning in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Wishing you a lovely, hygge day.