At the end of 2016, the Oxford Dictionary released its “Word of the Year” list, which included, among dystopian terms like “post-truth”, a word that is the embodiment of coziness and comfort: hygge. Pronounced “hoo-guh”, this word hails from Denmark and is synonymous with indulgence. Ever since “hygge” burst onto the scene, people have been obsessed with capturing its relaxed, comfort-filled amenities. After all, it’s no coincidence that the Danes happen to live in one of the happiest countries on earth. Blame it on the hygge.
Here, Savoir Flair breaks down the four tenets of the hygge lifestyle – follow them for a happier life.
In order to enjoy the hygge lifestyle, you must carve out personal space that is completely your own. Having your own private niche in the world will help you escape when you need to decompress after a long day. It can be a hidden spot in a lavish hotel lobby nearby, or it can be a tucked-away breakfast nook in your home – wherever you feel comfortable and safe is where you should set up shop. In order to hygge-fy your personal space, fill it with your favorite scented candles, great books to read, and a cozy cashmere throw.
Hygge is all about comfort and indulgence, but not overindulgence. That’s why one of its tenets – comfort food – should be a lovely extravagance but it shouldn’t make you feel guilty. For example, hygge isn’t an excuse for eating an entire carton of ice cream. Instead, hygge is about slow food – a.k.a. delicious multi-course meals enjoyed with friends and family. Hygge is about savoring every bite and being present with your loved ones.
Another important aspect of hygge is connection – to nature, to others, and to yourself. The latter involves self-care to the degree that you make time to meditate, eat well, sleep enough, and treat your body with reverence. However, for the total hygge experience, experts recommend that you spend plenty of time in nature or, barring that, a few hours outdoors every week breathing fresh air and taking in the sights. You can even incorporate these connections to nature in unlikely ways, like starting a small vegetable garden on your patio or crafting a beautiful succulent arrangement for your desk at work. To maximize the hygge-ness of connection, try a day trip with friends to a remote and beautiful area.
When people think of hygge, they think of plush blankets, warm sweaters, hot cups of tea, and fragrant, beautiful atmospheres. Unfortunately, some of those things can be difficult to incorporate into a life spent in one of the world’s hottest climates, so skip the wooly socks and thick sweaters and opt for creating lush environments out of fuzzy throw pillows, cashmere blankets, silky robes, and other wonderful, tactile objects.