As the winter months approach and the threat of further lockdowns is looming could it be the time to embrace “hygge” again?
Back in 2016, there was a lot of interest in all things “Scandi” (not least Sarah Lund’s jumper) following dramas such as The Killing and Borgen. Given that the World Happiness Report Update rated Denmark as the happiest country it was therefore not surprising that books and articles started to appear about the concept of “hygge” – finding happiness in the little things of life.
What is hygge?
Hygge (pronounced 'hoo-guh) comes from the Old Norse word “hyggja” which means thinking and feeling satisfied (and may be loosely connected to the word “hug”). It can be a verb, an adjective and a noun so you can be hygging (verb), the atmosphere can be hyggelig (adjective) or it is time for hygge (noun).
It is not something that can be forced as hygge is about letting go and being present - think about curling up in front of a fire, with a hot drink, watching your favourite film and you’ve got some idea what “hygge” is!
How can you hygge?
1. Use it in your language
Having a word to describe those moments of happiness in everyday life can help to achieve it, so either think about coming up with your own term or as the Danes have already come up with one just adopt theirs!
2. Keep it simple
Hygge is about enjoying the simple pleasures in life whether that is enjoying tea from a special china cup, splashing in puddles on a walk, or curling up with a good book.
3. Make a hyggelig home
Think of the soft furnishings section in Ikea and you’ve got the idea. Ditch the lights and use candles instead – according to the European Candle Association, Danes use more candles per head than anywhere else in Europe!
4. Enjoy good food
Think soups, stews, freshly baked bread as well as the occasional pastry. The Danes enjoy delicious food that is simple to make but also recognise the key is moderation.
5. Get outside
Long walks in the countryside, cycling, camping and trips to the beach are all “hygge” activities. The weather in Denmark is not always great but that doesn’t stop the Danes as they make sure that they are dressed for the weather – wrapping up in cosy jumpers, waterproof coats, hats, scarves, gloves and wellies. As stated by Alfred Wainwright “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!”
So, how are you going to hygge?