I’ve been a lifetime admirer of all things Scandinavian. From the furniture to the landscapes and in particular the philosophy behind the Danish word Hygge (pronounced hue – gah).
The origin of the word is Norwegian and old Nordic. It means seeking refuge, protection and shelter from the outside elements. It came into use in the Danish language in the 18th Century. These days it is more of a feeling or situation that makes you happy. Its an attitude to life. That warm, cosy, fuzzy feeling when all is well. It works particularly well in the winter months when we cosy down in our homes and have more time for each other, time to enjoy the simple things in life.
Is it any wonder that Denmark, despite spending a large proportion of the winter in darkness (upto 16 hours a day) is considered one of the happiest countries in the World according to the World Happiness Report 2015 Yes, there really is a report on World happiness ! For your information the UK currently ranks no 21. Maybe because those at the top of the report have long, dark, cold winters and spend a lot more time indoors, they have learnt how to enjoy simply being “at home” . Maybe the concept of Hygge is all about state of mind, attitude towards our lives and whats really important to us.
I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys my home, but I since having children I have this nagging feeling that I should be “doing” something, especially in the school holidays and weekends. Its like an unspoken feeling that I should be entertaining my children outside of my home, when actually, most of the time the boys and I are at our happiest when we just stay indoors. We spend time watching films, dancing around the kitchen with the radio turned up LOUD, on our computers (ok so not hygge at all) and even dabbling in a little light baking. I enjoy this quality down time with my children and also the time I spend alone. Maybe that’s why I always have a sense of relief in the winter when I feel I can actually really embrace Hygge.
Interestingly the social concept of Hygge has to be with those people you know well. Family, good friends or anyone whose company you can completely relax in. What I find particularly interesting though is that you mustn’t get into any conflict with these people. Conversations must be happy and light hearted in order to be Hygge. No social one upmanship. I like that idea.
So if you like the idea of getting some Hygge in your life take a tip or two from my list :
Throw on those comfy clothes, big warm jumpers, woolly socks etc.
Pile the blankets on your sofa, chairs and beds.
Light some candles.
Cook some comfort food or just buy your favourites.
Slow down, take time to enjoy your home and the people in it.
Don’t feel guilt about not filling every hour of every day with “stuff”.
Be happy, be Hygge