Although I was well aware of the global craze and an admirer of the Danish concept “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”), I didn’t really appreciate it until moving to Copenhagen earlier this summer. The phrase is now even immortalized in the Oxford dictionary, defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” But most Danes will tell you the word can’t be directly translatable and more of a feeling to be experienced.
It was in Copenhagen where I noticed this concept was a part of their DNA — and something I instantly wanted to share with my friends and family. The feeling of truly being in the moment and content was overwhelmingly satisfying.
I’ve always loved inviting friends over for meals and conversation, but leading up to gatherings it inevitably would turn into stress to ensure everything was perfectly prepared for the occasion. The same goes for our well-being — as an American, there’s this level of guilt I feel for slowing down. It’s a part of our culture to feel the need to always be busy. If you’re not busy, you’re not working hard enough.
I quickly learned that hygge is not a trend, but actually a part of the everyday life here in Denmark. Being grateful, slowing down, meeting with friends over good food and conversation, and creating a warm, relaxed atmosphere in our rentals has proven that no matter where you are in the world, you can live a more hygge lifestyle that leaves you feeling whole. Here are a few easy ways to experience hygge at home yourself.
Pay attention to your living space.
This doesn’t mean going out and consuming all things cozy to achieve the look, but quite the opposite. Make sure the things you do own have a purpose and make you feel good. If you don’t need it, get rid of it. The Danes are incredibly good at keeping their spaces minimal but intentional. Less really is more.
Dot candles around your home — the more, the better.
Candles are essential to hygge. They instantly make the space feel homey, warm, and inviting.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea, or mulled wine.
Snuggle up and savor that warm beverage. Bonus: find a good book to curl up with. When’s the last time you actually allowed yourself to relax?
Allow yourself to indulge in a piece of cake or any confectionary without thinking about the calories or sugar intake.
That’s something I absolutely love about Denmark. They love their sweets and don’t feel guilty about indulging! And as long as it’s in moderation, you shouldn’t either!
Invite friends over for a movie night.
Ask everyone to bring a snack and choose a movie you’ve all seen before so it doesn’t matter if you chat through it.
Take a short walk.
This article is about enjoying at hygge at home, but that doesn’t mean going out for a little bit for fresh air isn’t encouraged. It will make the cup of hot chocolate on your return home that much sweeter.
Invite friends over for dinner.
Instead of preparing everything yourself, make dinner together. Togetherness is the key here, and the more laid-back the night feels, the more ‘hyggelit’ the evening will be.
Unplug from everything digital.
Take the time to truly enjoy the present moment with family, friends, or whomever you may share your home with.
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