Hygge: Mindfulness, Cozy, and Comfort

Hygge is something practiced in Denmark. The people of Denmark are at the top of the charts for the happiest people in the world. They are happy even when they live in darkness for a good portion of the year. So how are they so happy? One word: Hygge. 

I love Hygge. Hygge is the feeling of comfort and cozy. It’s a feeling versus a thing. But Hygge can involve things too. Have you ever gone camping and sat by a campfire in the evening and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate with friends or family? That’s Hygge. Do you enjoy reading a book under a blanket on a rainy day? That’s also Hygge. How about cooking a roast in the oven and preparing food to enjoy at the table with a group of close friends and have a good conversation? You guessed it: Hygge. 

When I first read about Hygge I realized I was already enjoying it. I bet you are too without knowing there was a name for it! Something as simple as enjoying candles in your home, even unscented is part of the culture. The glow of the candle gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside just like the campfire scene. 

There’s a mindfulness to Hygge. It’s not about doing things fast, which is typical for Americans. Take time to slow down and enjoy the moments and make memories. Enjoy a walk in nature without your phone and watch and listen as you go. Get lost on the walk and forgot about your worries and to-do list. 

Knitting (and crochet) is very Hygge. There’s even a yarn called Hygge! We have blankets crocheted with it and the yarn is soft and fuzzy. When the blanket is on you it feels like the best hug you’ve ever experienced. The yarn isn’t wool where it gets too hot, it has room to breathe to keep you warm and cool. The sound of knitting needles can be very soothing, just like the crackling of a fire or raindrops on a roof. 

If you’d like to know more about Hygge, I recommend reading The Little Book of Hygge. You’ll learn more about Denmark as well and have ideas for activities each month of the year. Winter can be rough in the Northern states and it was a time I struggled to remain active and happy. Wisconsin winters were brutally cold and despite it being a sunny day it was very cold when you stepped outside. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fresh air! A walk outside on a chilly day can feel special when you know a cup of Joe or hot cocoa is waiting for you when you get back inside.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. A book about the practice of Hygge in Denmark and around the world.

Here are some ideas to start your own Hygge practice:

  1. Light some candles (scented or unscented) and have them where you can see them.
  2. Have a soft and cozy blanket available on your couch or favorite chair.
  3. Take the time on the weekend to make a slow-cooked meal. 
  4. Go for a long walk (30 minutes or more) without your phone and bring a friend!
  5. Sit down to have coffee or tea and conversation with someone you haven’t talked to in a while (in person or virtually).
  6. Go apple picking! Then make homemade applesauce. This is the recipe I use
  7. Read a book and do nothing else. Maybe you’ll finish the book on the same day!
  8. Learn to knit or crochet.
  9. Plan a future trip to a new location and cook a meal that is popular in that place. 
  10. Write a letter to a friend and mail it (yes, snail mail) because we all enjoy receiving mail. 

Tell me which one will you choose to do this week!

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