UNLOCKING THE SECRET TO A HYGGE LIFESTYLE //
THREE TOP TIPS FOR A MORE HYGGE HOME
It is no secret that the Danish population are responsible for the latest ‘hygge’ craze that has swept the world. Rather not surprisingly the country has recently just been voted again the happiest countries in the world by The World Happiness Report. So what are the Danes doing so right? With long dark winters and startling statistics that it rains or snows every other day in Denmark – what is their secret to happiness? With an amazing health care system, stable government, high quality education and amongst all of these wonderful cultural attributes is the not so secret ingredient – hygge.
WHAT IS HYGGE?
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish concept that cannot be directly translated into a single word. Hygge is a Danish word used to encapsulate a feeling of contentment and coziness. The word hygge or to be ‘hyggeligt’ is not something that you can buy or a style that you can interpret – it is a sense of well being through enjoyment of being present. Which is why the word is not translatable because hygge is encapsulated into a feeling and if you don’t feel hygge then you a probably do not understand the meaning.
Danes love staying in at home. This is because they make their houses a reason to stay in. Picture this – the days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in and you find yourself a little out of sorts with the shift in the seasons. It is freezing cold outside and can’t face venturing into the darkness? This is the reason to get hygge. Of course to be hygge or to get hyggeligt is not just confined to dark and dreary winter (although it helps to get you through it). The feeling of hygge can be a combination of all things comfy and it is not about hibernating all winter.
Hygge can be reading a book on a rainy day.
Hygge can be making an apple crumble on a Sunday.
Hygge can be creating a ritual without any extra effort – for example brewing your favourite coffee and having it in you favourite cup every morning.
Hygge is finding the joy within the simplicity of life.
To make your house a hygge home there are a couple of failsafe measures that you can adopt into your normal and everyday life. There will be certain things that you are already doing, but having some tips will help get your hygge lifestyle up and running this winter.
HOW TO GET HYGGE?
TIP one – GET COZY
I have never been into a Danish home that is not beautifully presented. Danes are very house proud and this contributes to their want to make a night of it! They make their houses a reason to stay in and invite people over. My first tip for a hygge home is to get cozy. First of all turn down the lights – Danes are all about good light fittings and it does attribute to the feeling of calm. Turn off those over head lights and get out your candles.
Candles are possibly one of the most important part of creating a ‘hyggeligt’ atmosphere at home. Snuggling down by the fire, with a warm cozy blanket, your favourite candles burning as you read a book is almost the perfect definition of feeling hygge. Of course you do not need to have a fire to get that lovely warm, content and feeling of reassurance. Most houses in the UK are not equipped with the essential Scandi wood burner, but the candles are close enough.
The simple act of lighting a candle with a meal or in your sitting room brings attention to the ethos that hygge is just about being aware of a good moment that is worth celebrating. Getting cozy by sitting under a blanket with your favourite biscuits whilst watching a movie or inviting friends over for a dinner party – the feeling you get from the familiarity in comfort is what it is all about.
TIP two – GET HUNGRY
It is not an uncommon fact that the Danish people are particularly partial for a pastry and funnily enough a big part of getting into the hygge lifestyle is food. This does not necessarily mean going out and spending a lot of money on an expensive meal and tons of food. As always – it means comfort. It is the familiarity in food and finding the joy in ‘contentness’. For Danes this means a good pastry, fantastic coffee, meatballs, potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. You name it the comfort food possibilities are endless. For the Brits reading this it could be a shepherds pie or a fish and chips from your favourite take away. Anything that brings a nostalgic and comforting feeling to your well being is on the agenda when getting hungry with hygge.
For you adopting this comforting relationship with food choose your favourite meal that makes you feel everything from nostalgic, calm, to comfort and security. If I was making dinner for my mum I would be hunkering down and making a traditional Danish meal of meatballs, potatoes and red cabbage with a thick dark gravy. If you find the joy in baking, you could perhaps spend your evening surrounded by the smell of cinnamon and make pastry which you can devour when warm and gooey.
TIP three – GET FRIENDLY
Now when going through the ways to make your lifestyle more hygge – it goes without saying that spending time with friends and family can be a big contributor to finding the joy in simple pleasures. There is no room in your new found routine for spending hours and hours on your smart phone. Unfortunately for the millennials out there Instagramming all of your evenings in with endless filters on your hygge night is not what the atmosphere is meant to be about.
Social media does not encapsulate the feeling of hygge but that does not mean that all electronic devices are a no. Spending time with your friends and family all gathered around a tv to watch a movie is very much in the style of togetherness.
Although you would presume it, Hygge is not all about spending time inside and hibernating the winter away. The Danes are also all about nature. Taking long walks outside and getting acquainted with the great outdoors is also a crucial part of getting hygge. Finding the joy in nature is something that I think applies to everyone. You always feel better after having a walk through the woods and I think that there is a secret to being outdoors that the Scandinavians have tapped into.
With all these tips and lifestyle hacks for a more hygge home, why not try just a couple at a time to ease you into the Danish way of life. One of my favourite things to do is have a lovely lavender bath, read a good book and use all of my favourite skin care products. At the moment I am obsessed with Disciple and their Night Shift oil make up remover and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil.
Perhaps have a nice cosy evening in with the candles lit, your favourite movie on the tele and a lovely warm plate of freshly baked pastry? I have linked below my families secret Danish recipe for Kanelbullar – a particular cinnamon pastry treat and it also happens to be my absolute favourite. Sign up for my newsletter and receive your traditional Danish pastry recipe with a twist.
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Thank you for reading and good luck getting hygge
If you would like to keep with the Scandinavian theme of this blog post, why not check out Thea and Henrik’s Swedish woodland wedding?