Hygee? Hugga? Hoogey? What the HELL is Hygge?!?! Well, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) in Danish culture is a beloved way of life. As described as “the art of creating intimacy” in The Little Book of Hygge:Danish Secrets to Happy Living, the word basically means creating comfort in your environment. Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen is the author of The Little Book of Hygge. As Denmark has continuously reigned as one of the top 3 happiest countries in the world, Meik researches what exactly makes the Danes so happy, and hygge is definitely part of that. Although I am by no means a proper practicing Dane, I do think hygge is something everyone should know about, so here is what hygge means to me and how I have implemented it into my life.
I have always been a jomo queen, obsessed with days in and making time for self care so learning about hygge just gave me a term for how I have always believed we should all be living. Hygge to me is snuggling with my favorite blanket while reading a good book, lighting candles and listening to relaxing music, or cooking dinner with my friends. It means being present in the moment, feeling complete with joy and laughter, and leaving with my heart full and cheeks sore from smiling. Another way Meik describes hygge is “Socializing for Introverts” and that resonated with me. I am not the type of person who always has to do something elaborate with others. Sometimes my favorite thing to do is an activity I usually do alone and just inviting a person to join me. Doing more calm, comfortable things with people is actually how I feel close to them.
There are the typical components that define hygge culture such as candles, cozy clothes, good homemade food, and light music. If you like any of those things then you’re basically already on the journey of becoming a hygge connoisseur! But to get deeper with it, hygge is about creating an atmosphere you’re comfortable in, a feeling, rather than any tangible item. Think about the times in your life that stick out to you as your favorite memories, maybe it was a friendsgiving, a girls night in, or a date night with your partner. When you recall these times you think about how happy you were in that environment and hygge is about recreating that feeling rather than the things that were present. This is why hygge is not easily definable and is different for everyone.
Having hygge, especially in the pandemic, has been very grounding for me. While being stuck in my apartment for the past year, there are times that I have felt like I was going to go absolutely crazy. With no change of scenery and not much light at the end of the tunnel, I had to lean on hygge to create variation in my daily routine. This meant some days keeping all my lights off and only being in candlelight to watch reruns of my favorite tv show, getting so caught up in a book and finishing it in one sitting, or baking my favorite desserts while listening to smooth jazz. The easiest way to break this down is if you are doing something that makes you happy and feel comfortable: you are practicing hygge.
In The Little Book of Hygge, there is an “Emergency Hygge Kit” that I thought I would share with you to give you a better idea of some quick ways to produce hygge in your life:
- Good Quality Chocolate
- Your Favorite Tea
- Your Favorite Book
- Your Favorite Film/TV Series
- A Good Pair of Woolen Socks
- A Selection of your Favorite Letters (I love this one and practice it)
- A Warm Sweater
- A Notebook
- A Nice Blanket
- Paper and Pen
- Photo Album