Today is the first day that I’m really feeling the chill in the air. Fall has a special place in my heart because I love the changing colours and crisp evenings. However, it does make me a little apprehensive because winter has never been my favourite season. When I learned how to embrace the colder weather thanks to hygge, the Danish practice of comfort and coziness, my life seriously improved.
You might have already heard of hygge (pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh“), as it gained popularity around the world in 2017 when the book “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” was released. Hygge is the practice of slowing down to embrace small, cozy moments every day. It’s a simple practice that focuses on comfort, coziness and connection.
When I read “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking it felt like coming home. I thrive in cozy environments and I love nothing more than cuddling up in a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. This concept feels as natural as breathing to me. While it can be practiced all year long, hygge feels like the perfect way to embrace the colder seasons.
Now that I’m actively practicing holistic design in my home and with my clients I have an even greater appreciation for hygge. I love that it’s a trending topic every Autumn and Winter because it means that people are being more intentional about the way they live.
The Pursuit of Daily Happiness
Meik Wiking describes hygge as the pursuit of daily happiness. I love this description! It’s a great reminder that there are beautiful moments in each day if we know where to look. Hygge is a way of being more intentional about how we live and choosing to set up our days with care and gratitude.
Wiking describes hygge as “the art of creating intimacy,” and “coziness of the soul.” Those two descriptions are enough to convince me that this is a practice that everyone should try to experience. Notice also that those two descriptions have nothing to do with buying something or setting up the perfect dinner party. It’s very much a come as you are way of living. It also reminds us that happiness doesn’t have to be a big and bold declaration; happiness can be found in the quiet, simple moments.
How do you Practice Hygge?
In an article by Self, they interviewed Wiking and he told them that the perfect hyggelig day would look like: “let[ting] a good stew simmer for hours while you read a good book and enjoy a nice cup of tea.” (Self 2018). I would add to this that the next step would be to share the homemade stew with loved ones. Connecting in intimate settings with friends and family is a really important aspect of hygge. Is there anything cozier than inviting people over for a casual potluck?
Hygge can be anything as long as it is done with intention and gratitude. We live in a world where everyone is posting minute-by-minute updates on social media and nothing ever stops. Everything around us is moving at superspeed and our brain can’t handle the level of stimulation we’re experiencing. Winter is nature’s way of slowing down. It’s only appropriate that we would also embrace rest and relaxation at this time of year.
Bringing Hygge Home
Hygge is all about home comforts and seasonally appropriate improvements. To me, this means switching out my bedding for flannel sheets and my summery throw pillows for warmer, deeper tones. It’s definitely not about achieving a design aesthetic! In my house, it means making a fire in the mornings while we’re having our coffee and tea. Well, we usually also light a fire in the evenings. We basically just love having the fire on at all times.
Making seasonally appropriate changes is key. Now that the cooler weather is here, I’m finding joy in my favourite slippers, thick wool blankets, and lighting candles. The soft glow of a candle is basically synonymous with hygge. Even Wiking admits that candles are the only acceptable purchase in order to achieve hygge. Personally, I like the white candles from IKEA because they are budget-friendly and always look beautiful clustered together.
Does this sound vague? YES! And I’m doing that on purpose. I read so many blog posts that said you need this thing and can’t hygge without a special $400 blanket when I was doing research. The truth is, I can’t tell you what will bring you joy or make you feel cozy. It’s an experience you need to cultivate based on your own definition of comfort.
Hygge focuses on being intentional in all aspects of your life. It’s similar to the ‘romanticize your life’ trend in that way. Finding pleasure in small moments like enjoying a cup of coffee or reading a book in the park is a great way to be more mindful. When we bring intention into all of our tasks, we have the chance to slow down and breathe. And when we slow down, we have time to appreciate everything around us.
Okay, my fingers are cold from typing! It’s time for another warm mug of tea.
Let me know if you think this practice will help you weather the fall and winter!