Hooked on Hygge
Last summer I spent a few weeks touring around Scandinavia and had a few magical days in Denmark. Copenhagen, Denmark's capital city, was by far my favourite stop on the trip and ever since I left, I've been plotting my return. Something was just different there. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time but it just felt so darn good. Yes it was cold (16 degrees on the warmest day) and very rainy but it was also so quiet, cozy and relaxed. I didn't have the word for it but later found out the the Danish do have a word for it and it's 'hygge'.
Hygge is a more about creation of atmosphere and experience and not about things. It's about creating comfort and pleasure in the small or big things in life. Whether it be a game night in with friends or enjoying a book with a cup of tea, there is a cosiness to it. In Denmark, the feeling of hygge is important and let me
be the first to tell you- it does feel so darn good!
In North America we often take pride in being busy. We take pride in the fact that we work all hours of the day, have 24 hour grocery stores and run on caffeine and sugar. After a long day of travel on my first night in Copenhagen, I set out looking for a coffee shop (around 6pm on a Thursday evening). To my surprise, everyone had closed up shop and nearly everything in the city was closed. At first I was rattled- how the hell does anyone get sh*t done around here?!?- but then I realized the Danes put emphasis on down time with family and friends and work-life balance. Does anyone really NEED to shop after 6pm or on Sundays? NO. We didn't use to do it and with proper planning there is no reason for it!
Since returning from my trip I've been enchanted by the idea of hygge. There is no hard and fast rule on what 'hygge' is and isn't but in Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, he outlines the hygge manifesto which makes it easy to add a little hygge to your life.
1. Atmosphere- With hygge, lighting is very important. Candles and soft lighting are key to creating the right ambiance. So turn off those overhead lights, light some candles and bask in the warm glow.
2. Presence- For goodness sakes put that phone on airplane mode! Take some time to stay in the moment and clear distractions. I try to take 1-2 full weekends every month without my phone now and it is the best!
3. Pleasure- Let them eat cake! Indulged a little bit and make sure whatever it is you take it slow and savour it! Whether it is a yummy coffee or a late night piece of cake, rid yourself of any guilt and ENJOY!
4. Equality- The Danish truly value equality and fair treatment. Though one of the highest taxed countries in the world, they also rank as the happiest. Singular successes are the countries success and sharing is something that really makes them standout. So pay it forward, buy someone a coffee, ask others how their day is going, choose the group over you.
5. Gratitude- Take time each day to write down 5-10 things you are grateful for. From big things (the health of loved ones) to little things (how well this new almond milk froths!) jot down your daily gratitudes and see your happiness skyrocket!
6. Harmony- I LOVE THIS ONE! Meik Waking writes "It's not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements". This is so true. You are not your resume. You are a real living human and that in and of itself makes you AMAZING.
7. Comfort- Grab a blanket, light a candle and sip on some tea. Taking a break and getting comfy is nothing to feel guilty about- I guarantee you have earned it!
8. Truce- Leave the drama for the theatres! Turn off CNN and celebrate each other and the fact that though we may not agree on everything, we can all still get along.
9. Togetherness- Our focus should be less on building a strong instagram following and more on building true lasting relationships. Surround yourself with the people you love and go make some memories.
10. Shelter- This is a sacred space and tribe. Fill it with love, be love and come back to this space when you need to re-energize and refresh yourself. Be picky of the people and the places that you surround yourself with. Choose only the best!
So there you have it! Try doing a few things considered hygge in your week and just see how it makes you feel- I know for myself I'm hooked!