In the stressful and hectic modern world—where many are experiencing pandemic fatigue— the Danish philosophy hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) pushes people to slow down in their lives, making a huge difference in our happiness. A common aspect of Danish culture and a driving philosophy behind the general happiness in a country with minimal winter daylight, hygge culture helps bring cheerfulness by allowing people to experience joy in little things. While hygge is embraced all year round in Denmark, it is especially celebrated during the dark winter months and Christmas holidays. Hygge embraces physical coziness and comfort while promoting emotional warmth. In fact, the word “hug” has origins in the word “hygge.” In recent years, this approach to life has spread internationally, becoming viral on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. The hygge philosophy encourages people to seek comfort with little acts each day, like sharing a dessert with friends or reading a good book beside some lit candles. Hygge pushes for mental peace instead of comfort in material goods. Along with herbal teas, hygge has been cited by Danish doctors as a natural treatment for a cold, demonstrating the power of emotional and mental wellness. Due to its simplicity, the hygge mindset can be applied to many aspects of life, helping you find comfort every day…
There are many ways to embrace hygge in your own life; here are some examples:
Screen Time Break
While beneficial, the task of setting your phone aside is not an easy one in reality. Setting time away from your screens might seem inconvenient, especially with constant notifications and the increasing reliance on technology due to the pandemic isolation. However, in doing so, you can give yourself a chance to discover the hygge way of life while possibly improving your physical presence and connecting more with the natural world. These tasks are vital since they can help you to find comfort in non-digital activities like enjoying your favorite snack, lighting a candle, or taking a walk. By embracing hygge daily, there is potential for improved mental wellness.
Grab a Friend
An important activity to help you embrace the hygge lifestyle is to spend time with a friend, especially someone whose company you enjoy and someone who makes you feel good. For many people, spending time with a friend or even multiple friends might include watching a movie, baking, going on a walk, or making carefree art. Expressing gratitude for moments with people you appreciate is also an important aspect of hygge.
A large part of hygge is simple experiences that bring happiness to you, whether it’s eating your favorite dessert or watching your comfort show. Hygge encourages people to find comfort in simple pleasures, teaching people the value of emotional connections over tangible objects. While material objects (like books, candles, and self-care products) can be a part of hygge activities, the intention is focused on the positive emotions rather than the object itself. Indulgences can also seem like activities that bring you happiness but are considered unproductive, especially by American “hustle” culture. If you’re looking for a new dessert recipe for some hygge comfort, consider these chocolate chip cookies from Pinch of Yum or these traditional Scandinavian cookies.
While easier said than done, dismissing external pressures and making a habit of valuing your own appreciation is an important part of hygge. Despite the current cold weather, there is always room for warmth and comfort in our hearts.