For anyone living in a Northern, cold climate, the winter blues are a part of life. Shorter days mean long hours of darkness and cold temps mean lots of time indoors.
I stumbled across hygge while I was doing some research about how to beat the winter blues. Hygge is a Danish term for acknowledging that a moment is cozy, taking pleasure in the simple things in life, and an overall feeling of contentment. Danes consider hygge a part of their national identity – it’s way more than a lifestyle trend.
Calling a moment “cozy” seems a bit subjective, but there are some very easy tips to help get you started. The best part? You don’t need to buy anything to experience hygge. It’s just a feeling and you create it!
So how can you be more cozy in the winter? By staying warm and surrounding yourself with soft, warm light. Think warm clothes, fluffy blankets, candles, fires, hot beverages, soup – you get the idea.
Being at home is the easiest place to experience hygge. It’s all about snuggling up and enjoying the moment. Light a fire in the fireplace, sit in your comfiest chair under a soft blanket, grab a cup of warm tea and a good book, then settle in for a few hours. That feeling of contentment is hygge.
It’s important to be comfortable so this is the perfect excuse to put on some sweatpants, your warmest sweater, and some thick socks. Remember to turn off the bright lights and light some candles.
You can experience hygge anywhere, even at work. My office is definitely not hygge. There is bright fluorescent lighting, blank white walls, and lots of time spent staring at a computer. To make my time at work a little more cozy, I brought in an oversized wool scarf to wrap around my shoulders when the office gets chilly. I moved my two office plants to always be in my line of sight, rather than behind me. I drink cups of hot tea all day – the warm cup makes a nice hand warmer. And, with approval from the office manager, I burn a small unscented candle on my desk on cloudy days.
Think about some ways you can make your work space feel more inviting and a little less bland. Indoor plants make a big difference. Drink your coffee or tea in a ceramic mug instead of a paper cup or metal travel mug. Keep a light sweater or scarf at your desk to stay warm.
Another important part of hygge is quality time spent with family and friends over a shared meal. Serve something warm and filling, and remember that lighting is important.
For family dinners at our house, I’ve started dimming the kitchen lights, lighting a few candles, turning off the tv and putting away phones, and enjoying the company for about 10 minutes (we have two kids under four, they don’t stay seated for long).
This seems opposite to everything mentioned so far, but you still need to get outside and experience the health benefits of nature. Be sure to dress for the weather with lots of layers. When the sun finally does peek out and the wind isn’t too strong, then head outside for a long walk or winter sport. Build a campfire and enjoy a warm beverage.
It’s Not A Thing, It’s A Feeling
Remember, you don’t have to buy anything to experience hygge. Yes, you might stock up on candles or your favorite tea, but you probably would have done that anyway. Hygge isn’t an excuse to buy 12 new throw blankets or an entire lounge wardrobe. Make use of items you already have and enjoy feeling cozy all winter long!