You may well have heard of the term hygge (pronounced hoo ga) being shared around, and of you haven’t, after reading his post I guarantee you will start to spot it when you least expect it. My good friend Anna @zeitmygeist introduced me to it when I was explaining the essence of my blog. I was reeling off a list of adjectives when she just blurted it ‘Hygge!’ I naturally followed this with a ‘bless you’… but she went on to explain. It grabbed me, how could I not have heard of this before! It is now my most favourite term. Ever.
Let me explain what hygge means. Hygge is a feeling, a state of mind, an experience. Imagine for a moment that there is a downpour outside, with a raging storm approaching your house and there you are, all cosied up in a snuggly blanket, with your favourite comfort drink (mine is Miso soup, every time), you may have your comfy cosies on and what the hell, even some warm wooly socks, watching the storm approaching and being completely present in the moment. That lovely people, is a perfect hygge moment. There is no coincidence that this term has the word hug in it. It is the epitome of giving yourself a huge hug. We all deserve that don’t we?
So, where does this term come from? Well it is a term that is hundreds of years old that in Norwegian means ‘wellbeing’. The Danes have been using this term for over two hundreds years and as they are known to be the happiest people in Europe, I think it is worth us adopting some hygge into our lives. Don’t you? If you have come across this term before then I guarantee you are already adopting some hygge techniques in your life, and for those that haven’t, be prepared, you will start to see this word popping up more and more. I came across it on Netflix much to my delight and whilst out shopping I even happened to spot ‘The Little Book of Hygge‘, and let me tell you, Meik Wiking knows his stuff. He is the CEO of the Happiness Institute in Copenhagen no less. Damn it, reading this book even made me feel all hygge. Trust me, you need it in your life. He is Mr Happiness in my mind.
So, how can we all be a little more Hygge? Well, the Danes have a mantra for this which I will blog about another time but for now, just think of the following. As I mentioned before, hygge is a feeling, it is an experience. This can be with a group of people you are completely comfortable with, or it can be an experience you have just with yourself. You can begin with just a few items that will help centre you. A comfortable chair, a cosy blanket, lots of candles, a beautiful book, a roaring fire, comfy cosies and snuggly socks. It is about cocooning yourself, locking the world away and allowing yourself to feel centred and safe.
I am sure that it has not escaped your attention that glamping, yurts, sherherds huts and the like are becoming more and more popular for romantic retreats and family holidays. Some even boast that they are in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection. Now I understand how this would fill some people with dread, but for me, how better to spend time with your loved ones than to not have any distraction? Whatsoever! Long walks, board games, card games, playing the guitar and singing along, marshmallows by the fire and comfort food. You get my drift!
Below is my hygge dream retreat. We stayed in a similar place in New Zealand, aptly named Paradise. And paradise it was. It was a ramshackle cabin, not too dissimilar to this. There were no ‘mod cons’ (I am approaching middle age it is ok to use this term, I checked). There wasn’t any electricity or heating. The only way you could have hot water for the tin bath was to chop the wood for the kitchen stove and patiently wait for it heat it up. We happily chopped wood for the fire. We cooked in a pizza oven also fuelled by wood and played games and read by candle light. We went for a midnight walk and the stars… my goodness, the stars were phenomenal. We even happened to find a little cave with glow worms! I realise that this is hygge to the extreme but this post is about trying to get a little huge into our lives that is manageable.
We can create this in our own lives. Before you all run for your saws and hammers, hold your horses.! I mean we can create this feeling, the experience, the hygge. Here is a picture of my little hygge sanctuary I have made in my house that I use regularly. In fact I am sitting there right now (although to truly hygge it should be without technology) so you ahem caught me being slightly mischevious, but I just love the space. Morning, noon or night. I read here, blog here, stare at the fire from here with a lovely chilled wine in the evenings and chat with Mr C whilst he whisks up one of his amazing breakfasts.
As you can see, you don’t need much effort to feel the love of hygge. I challenge you to find the time, the space and the cosy nooks in your house to give yourself some well deserved hygge time. I would love to see your pictures of your little cosy place. We could all get tips from one another. But then please, do yourself a favour, put the phone down, hell, switch it off if you are feeling really brave and just relax and have a hyggelig time!! Trust me you will thank yourself and be a happier person for it. Let me know how you get on.