Getting through the dark months is often a struggle, but add on top lockdown, health concerns and for many parents, a stressful dollop of home schooling, and you’ve got a seriously tricky recipe. So how do we get through this? A previous blog has already covered some general winter wellness advice (8 proven ways to stay healthy this Autumn) so this blog is not going to lecture you about taking supplements, getting fresh air or eating well (although you should try to do all these things). Instead I want to look at the Danish concept of Hygge and how embracing it can make the next few dreary, dismal days of winter more bearable.
So what exactly is Hygge and why is it important?
Put simply, Hygge is the feeling of cozy contentment you can experience when you enjoy the simple things in life. When you prioritise wellbeing and incorporate self-care into your daily life. The concept comes from Denmark – one of the Nordic countries that experiences long, dark winters, yet has one of the highest happiness ratings in the world according to the World Happiness Report.
So how can you experience Hygge this winter? There are many ways, and I am going to list my top five here:
1 – Enjoy each small pleasure
Take time out of your day to really be present and mindful during each small pleasure. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy inside, whether it is a cup of coffee, a hot bath, or a walk in the woods, make sure you really appreciate it fully. Taking time to enjoy something you love is the very definition of hygge.
2 – Revel in your hyggebusker clothes
The Danish word hyggebusker can be translated as “cosy trousers.” Think of your comfiest jogging bottoms or softest, stretchiest leggings. Afterall, if you are mainly at home, there is no need to pour your body into tight uncomfortable clothes. Plus, if you are on zoom calls for work, no one can see your lower half encased in snuggly hyggebuskers and you can always team them with a smart top if necessary. But for full hygge comfort I recommend indulging in soft cashmere jumpers – beautiful natural fabrics that make your body feel like it is being enveloped in a warm, cosy cloud.
3 – Keep up your Christmas lights and decorations up
In medieval times decorations were left up until Candlemas on 2nd February. These days we typically we make our homes festive and gorgeous for Christmas, and then we remove all these trappings in early January, making our homes seem suddenly drab with their absence. But given that the situation we all find ourselves in, perhaps this year we should return to the medieval tradition. If you are stuck at home, and if your decorations and Christmas lights make you happy, why not enjoy those lights and baubles a little longer? Deriving pleasure from being surrounded by beautiful things is definitely hygge.
4 – Light some candles
While we are on the subject of light… there is nothing more hygge than a beautiful, scented candle! Danish people burn more candles per person than any other country in the world. It is a vital part of their hygge and helps create a gorgeous atmosphere. You can choose a scent to suit your mood, uplifting, floral or comforting. We recommend candles made from natural wax such as soy, coconut or beeswax since they release fewer harmful chemicals than paraffin wax candles (or mineral wax, which is another name for paraffin wax). Any candle that doesn’t make it immediately clear that it is made using natural wax will invariably be using the lower quality and more harmful paraffin/mineral wax.
5 – Create your own hyggekrog
The hyggekrog is a special cosy place or nook, that you can snuggle into. You may move your comfiest armchair next to the window when it is raining outside, then snuggle into it under a warm blanket with a book. And while you are here, you can combine all our first four hygge tips together! Ensure you are wearing your comfiest hyggebuskers, have a cup of hot chocolate beside you to savour, light a candle to create atmosphere and take pleasure in your festive decorations. All these together help to add to the atmosphere of your hyggekrog and allow you to be fully immersed in hygge.
However you do it, try to make hygge part of your daily routine this winter, and hopefully the next few weeks won’t seem quite so bad.