As it’s getting colder I would encourage us to cosy up and hygge!
All my household are rather “under the weather” and we have been doing a lot of coughing and sneezing. I bet you’re so glad that germs can’t be transfered through blogs! I have frequently heard the phrase “it’s the time of the year for colds” and I have needed to remind myself that coughs and colds do seem to be a fact of life and getting frustrated won’t help.
It would seem that in clearing our throats we have been making sounds like the the Danish word hygge. Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word ‘hygge‘ (pronounced “hooga” or “heurgha” ) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’.
In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. It’s all about creating feelings of happiness, friendliness and wellbeing within everyday life.
It’s being hailed as the route to health and happiness. The latest OECD World Happiness Report put Denmark at No 1, Iceland in third, followed by Norway and Finland, way ahead of the UK at 23.
The phrase “go easy on yourself” springs to mind and I often encorage both myself and others to celebrate what you can do rather than worrying about what you can’t do.
Hygge and Nature
Signe Johansen’s new book How To Hygge hails the Nordic people’s love of being in nature as the key to hygge and encourages us to exercise outside. Walking outdoors compared to on a treadmill automatically increases the calorie burn by ten per cent, due to factors such as wind resistance.
Research has found that being in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases energy, boosts self-esteem and makes you less angry.
I have been wrapping up and getting outside as much as possible and have enjoyed some short walking breaks, enjoying the Winter light and then reflecting these in creating with wool.
One of the things I love about living in Sheffield, one of the greenest cities in terms of parks and woodland, is easy access to the Peak District National Park.
Take a Break
The Danish tradition of daily ‘fika’: a break to sit down, enjoy a hot drink and often a sweet pastry or a cinnamon bun. Taking breaks and having a good work life balance aids prodoctivity as well as . What are your favourite breaks?
A ‘Nordic style diet’ of whole-grain products such as Ryvita-style ‘knackebrod’, fish three times a week, root veg, berries, locally sourced fruits such as apples and plums and avoiding sugar-sweetened foods, lowers cholesterol.
The mentality of ‘hygge’ means enjoying the good things in life without feeling guilty, including indulging in the food that makes you happy. Despite this, the proportion of adults in Sweden who are obese is 14 per cent, compared to the UK’s 27 per cent. perhaps it is the ideal of moderation. The Scandinavians firmly believe in ‘lordagsgodis’ – Saturday Sweets. It’s ingrained in Scandinavians from childhood that you treat yourself on Saturdays. Studies show a treat every now and then can make a person more likely to stick to a diet.
‘Hyggeligt’ means “pleased to meet you”, and is also used to describe a chance meeting that felt warm and convivial. Spending time with those near to us is also key to our wellbeing. Forget perfectionism and remember the main thing is sharing food, conversation and your lives with people. Don’t just invite over your friends and let them sit there while you slave in the kitchen. A true Hygge host says” YES” when guests offer to help.
Candles and natural fires are a key part of this, and are a quick way to feelings of cosiness, and in my experience their gentle light are a great way to disguise dust! Combine with natural scent, such as using coffee beans, for an even greater cosiness.
You can find some of the scented eco soya wax candles I make using vintage cups in my Etsy shop
Crafty hobbies such as knitting or sewing are perfect to help to relax and calm your being, or curl up and read a good book for hygge refreshment.
How about one of my landscape art card making kits, which combines crafting with nature.
Good housekeeping give us 11 ideas for a hygge home.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking who is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Meik says in Denmark “You hear hygge being talked about all the time – by everyone, no matter who they are. We talk about hygge things coming up that we’re looking forward to; we point out when something hygge is happening right now; then we like to talk about what a great ‘hyggelit’ (hygge-like) time we’ve had afterwards.”
Then the word can be used in many practical but different sentences describing Danish life – as a noun (hygge), an adjective (hyggelig) and a verb (at hygge sig). As in “hygge is important”, “I’m going to make sure my house is hyggely”, and “I’m hyggeling this corner of my house.”
I’ve mentioned 2 of the 9 books around now with Hygge in the title, but there is one, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth, that feels hygge lightness is too superficial.
However, although maybe hygge is not everything needed for wellbeing, I for one am looking forward to cosy moments. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things”.
How do you cope with the cold or darker days blues? I’d love to know your thoughts on the concept of ‘Hygge’
If you were to create a hygee box, what would you put in to it?x