I’ve spent some time this week discovering the Danish concept of “Hygge.” It’s essentially the idea of being cozy in a charming environment and connecting with others. Gather with your friends to drink cocoa and watch a holiday movie: hygge. Sit on the couch all day playing on your phone: not hygge. What I love best about this idea is THERE’S NOTHING TO BUY! It should literally cost you nothing. Of course, because America is getting their hands on it, we’ll soon be marketing hygge blankets and mugs. Maybe we already are. But at its core, hygge is about a feeling, an experience and those should be free.
Right now, it’s hygge season. This is the time of year is prime for cozying up with a book, wrapped in your favorite blanket, next to a crackling fire. The aforementioned movies with cocoa. Baking! But does hygge stop in the summer? According to my brief research, NO. Picnics and barbecues and hikes are all hygge too. Oh, thank goodness because this sounds like too awesome of a concept to be part time.
Last night, I was trying to explain hygge to my teenage daughter. “So, it’s basically self-care?” she observed. Well, yeah. Taking care of yourself and connecting with the people around you. Like self-care, it’s a mindset. You have to be present in the moment to assess what you need in self-care, and you need to be present in the moment to thoroughly enjoy the feeling that comes with hygge. Relaxing and taking time for you is very hygge, and like self-care, hygge should appeal to all of your senses. Scented candles, soft blankets, indulgent treats, beautiful surroundings and pleasant sounds can be both self-care and hygge. (Ps, total side note, I’m thrilled that my daughter’s generation seems to be embracing the idea of self-care. For centuries, as women, we’ve been expected to do it all but not necessarily have it all. Seeing her manage stress, take care of her skin, treat herself to a bubble bath, all make me smile and have so much hope for the next generation of women.)
You probably know from previous posts that I’ve embraced a level of minimalism with the Flylady way and the Konmari Method: Do I love it, does it bring me joy? But the hygge concept is adding another layer to my vision for and enjoyment of my home (and by extension, my life). Sometimes minimalism comes off as cold and sterile. That’s not what I want at all. I don’t need a room crammed with furniture but I do need what I have to be comfortable and embracing. I don’t need a dusty pile of magazines, but I do need a couple to thumb through when I’m in the mood. I prefer books over ebooks (but I prefer my movies to be stored on my DVR, not DVDs, go figure). I love my Scentsys, and they’re on all the time, but nothing compares to the flicker of a candle. Again, I’m not running out to buy anything new, but I’m expecting a new level of coziness and comfort from what I have. When something is due to be replaced, I’ll have higher expectations from the replacement. It’s won’t necessarily need to be the most expensive version but it will have to “feel” right, if that makes any sense. I will focus more on being in the moment and ensuring that the moment appeals to all of my senses.
I feel like hygge has always been a part of who I am deep down, and who humans are deep down. We all desire to be comfortable and connected and to fully experience life. Maybe my exposure to the idea simply gives a word to what we all crave. It also gives me permission to hold on to things that may be frivolous or old fashioned, but bring me joy, like my real books and scented candles.