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In this new segment we’re diving into Hygge–the Danish lifestyle of enjoying the cozy moments and creating good feelings inside and around ourselves. From fuzzy socks to heartfelt simple moments with loved ones, I think you’ll love this How-To-Hygge episode!
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- Hygge House
- Visit Denmark: Hygge
- The Year Of Hygge
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How To Hygge
The sun is setting earlier and the darker days are upon us. It’s chilly outside, so you snuggle up on the couch inside. On the stove there’s a pot of warm soup and fresh bread in the oven. You and your friends are curled up under fuzzy blankets, laughing as the light from the candles bounces shadows across your wall.
There’s a warm feeling, and it runs deep inside of you. You are happy. You are relaxed. You are cozy.
This is hygge. It’s more of a feeling than an experience. And you definitely can’t buy “hygge” or “do hygge”. You create and feel hygge.
We’re super lucky because our Work with Soul podcast manager, Emily Tynes, lives in Denmark… the home of hygge. She gave me the inside scoop about the charming lifestyle of hygge, enjoyed especially in the cold/dark winter months.
Once I found out what it was all about I wondered why we hadn’t picked this up sooner?
The word hygge itself means “to console or comfort” and relates to the English word “hug”.
Think of what a really good hug feels like, you know when you just get to melt into the others arms and all feels right and good in the world during that moment. Hygge is all about making life and your lifestyle like one long, enjoyable hug.
If you want to know how to hygge, then you have to learn how to take pleasure in gentle, soothing things. And for most people in the US, that’s quite a challenge. Since we typically value a faster pace, productivity and good old hard work, slowing down and enjoying the cozy life isn’t our first nature. For this we can look to the Danes for inspiration…
Hygge about enjoying the simple comforts and the most meaningful but sometimes understated moments like quietly reading with your partner in bed cuddled up together or the feeling of putting on your favorite sweater fresh out of the dryer on a cold day.
I asked Emily to reach out to her Danish students and friends about what hygge means to them, as locals and purveyors of this cozy lifestyle choice. Here’s what they had to say:
“Hygge is creating atmosphere for yourself. It’s a self atmosphere where you can be yourself and you can feel good about everything around you, including the people around you. If someone comes over for coffee, which in Denmark is coffee, candy, and cake, they will usually stay to past midnight.”
“Hygge can also be done by yourself. When you’re cozy in bed and everything feels perfect, and when you intentionally relax and focus on yourself, that’s hygge. My favorite hygge is in a bath bomb bath with a book and no one else around. I feel so at peace and so connected to myself that everything in me feels calm and relaxed.
“My other favorite hygge is when I cook meals for people, and we sit around, talking about nothing and everything, and laugh a lot. I think the best part of hygge is laughing. I love to host dinner parties and creating hygge in all the ways I can. I’m very intentional in choosing my lighting, my surroundings, and food that’s available for hygge. Creating hyggeis so important to who I am, and I never knew the word to use for it until I learned it from the danes.”
“Danes find that hygge is such an universal thing that they think everyone else does the same, but they are surprised when non-danes don’t get it. It’s such a part of the culture that they really don’t’ think about it. It is just something they do. They think it’s so weird that Americans will ask “How are you?” without meaning it. It’s the opposite of hygge. It’s being intentional with how you interact with others and yourself.”
“It is going into the forest and having a campfire when it’s cold, and being cuddled in a blanket. Another described it as eating popcorn and watching movies with your best friend. Another described it as being cuddled by a dog.
“Good lighting, good friends, good food and good memories–this is the heart of hygge.”
On a soul level, hygge aligns perfectly with slowing down, being more mindful, and relaxing to the point where you can enjoy what is. It is the opposite of perfectionism and over-achieving.
When you practice hygge you are also leaning back into a slow pace, you create a space and time where you soul can come alive again. And you can fully embrace and enjoy what’s happening, right here, right now. Hygge is a soulful and meditative lifestyle that we fully support here at work with soul!
Are you going to pick up this hygge lifestyle this holiday season?
Here’s how to incorporate it into your life with ease:
Rather than a big holiday bash or over the top party, take the pressure of yourself, and just invite over a few of your favorite people. Make a single pot dish, and have others bring their favorite treats. Have one signature cocktail or type of wine and turn the tv and your phones off and enjoy some old-school style conversations together.
When you come home from work, put on your coziest sweat pants those fuzzy socks your weird aunt gave you, light all the candles in your house and put on your new favorite album. Just sit and listen and relax.
Sleep in one of these weekends. Put your to-do list on hold and linger in bed for a couple extra hours. Sip a warm cup of tea and feel the warmth in your hands. Feel the caress of your sheets on your skin. Slip into comfort and just stay there for a while.
I started cold-weather tradition here in Chicago where we trade off hosting monthly hygee hangouts. I whip out every blanket I own, I bake rice krispie treats, and everyone brings a book to read–but mostly we just sit around and enjoy each others’ warmth and company.
If you love hygge we’d love to know how you enjoy this Danish lifestyle. So head on over to the Work with Soul Community and let us know how you like to hygge. And if you have any questions our very own hygge expert, Emily is there to help.
We’ve also included links to a few articles I sourced to help create this episode, so check out those if you want more hygge inspiration.
Alright folks that’s how to hygge–enjoy being cozy.