Have you heard about Hygge (pronounced HUE-gah)? It is the latest buzzword in wellness and comes straight from the home of the happiest people in Europe, Denmark. Now, there is no literal translation but the closest interpretation is ‘cosiness’ -- it is thought that the etymology is similar to that of the English ‘hug.’
Broken down simply, hygge is about celebrating life’s simple pleasures -- atmosphere, good food and time spent with close friends and family. And hygge’s heyday is upon us, autumn and winter. Because Denmark experiences such a long, cold, dark winter, the Danish adopted this attitude as a way of embracing what could be thought of a less favourable time of year. Though we in London are not so far north as Copenhagen, winter is no less drab a time. The dark, the grey and the incessant drizzle can be boring at the best of times, and miserable at the worst.
Winter is coming and we want you to be well equipped to brave the season. So, we’ve rounded up the best of hygge as an antidote to the imminent English winter. And, who knows, maybe after adopting this lifestyle, we’ll all learn to look forward to the darker, colder months.
5 Steps To Introduce Hygge Into Your Life
- Lighting. Switch off the overhead lights. The Danish are all about soft, flattering lighting. Think tons of candles (with warm, spicy scents if that’s your thing) and lamps over stark fluorescents. A fireplace is as hygge as it gets but those can be hard to come by in London.
- Soft, warm fabrics. Whether it’s jumpers, oversized scarves or warm blankets, bundle up. Summer can be hot and suffocating and you can only where so little clothing but in winter you can layer up and be as comfortable and cozy as possible. Make the most of it.
- Eat warm, comforting food. Your body needs warmer foods as temperatures drop so don’t try and eat a salad for lunch when it’s 10 degrees outside. Instead, nourish yourself with hot porridge and other grain bowls, soups and stews and plenty of tea and warming lattes -- try matcha, turmeric or ginger with almond milk for the ultimate wholesome hot drink. If you’re eating out, 26 Grains in Neal’s Yard has really nailed this.
- Plan nights in with friends. I can imagine nothing less cozy than a big night out when it’s cold, raining and miserable. Instead, invite friends over for homemade spiced wine or hot toddies and a warming meal. Quality time with loved ones is the ultimate hygge and should be indulged in no matter the season.
- Nest. Summer is all about getting out in the sun and making the most of every moment of good weather. This can mean time spent at home is a burden rather than a joy and any effort to make your house, flat, apartment a place you want to be falls by the wayside. Now that the colder season is upon us and more time will inevitably be spent at home, take time to think about what you can do to feel more grounded there. Make a Pinterest board, invest in warmer bedding, do whatever you need to do to make your home comfortable.
It may seem like a small thing to try to embrace the colder seasons but this intention will help you live in the moment, stay happy during what is notoriously the most depressing time of year and stop wishing away time and wanting to escape surroundings that are actually lovely, just in a different way. If you’re interested in learning more, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking, wrote The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live
, which is topping bestseller lists worldwide. Maybe loving winter is easier than we thought?