What is Hygge?

Welcome to the hygge life! You may be asking yourself, what exactly is “hygge?” Great question. Hygge is a Danish word that encapsulates a feeling of coziness and contentment that comes with enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

For example, staying inside by the fire on a snowy day or preparing a meal that takes hours to cook before finally enjoying it at the end of the day. Impromptu coffee dates, spending time on a hobby simply to enjoy it or being active in nature. These things are all hygge!

Where does the word hygge come from?

Hygge is a Danish word that first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th century. Today, it is a cultural phenomenon that has spread beyond Scandinavia but the word is widely and most commonly used in Denmark and Norway.

Remind me again – What does Hygge mean?

This is the official definition of hygge: “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” It can mean different things to different people, but this is the general idea.

What’s the difference between hygge and hyggelig?

Hygge is a noun and hyggelig is an adjective. For example, hygge is a place, mood or environment you create or find. That being said, it is common to see hygge being used interchangeably as a noun, adjective and verb.

Hyggelig, on the other hand, is always used as an adjective. For example, “I spent the morning baking hyggelig treats.” Or, “We had a hyggelig time catching up over coffee.”

Do you have to be Danish to practice hygge?

Absolutely not! While a DNA test recently revealed that I possess some Norwegian ancestry, I did not grow up in Scandinavia or within the Danish culture. That being said, having grown up in a cold-weather climate, I was instantly drawn to the concept of hygge – I’ve been practicing it my whole life. I just didn’t realize it! Hygge is for anyone and everyone. That’s part of what makes it so grand!

How do I hygge?

The simples way to hygge is to not try too hard! Hygge is natural and should come of its own accord. There are things you can do, however, to set yourself up for hygge success. Here are some hyggelig habits that will set you on your way to living a more hygge life:

  • Enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Focus on the positives and practice gratitude. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to help you stay focused on the positives in your life. Every day, dedicate a few minutes to write down three things you are grateful for.
  • Learn to slow down. It’s too easy to get caught up in the fast-paced lifestyle that modern society epitomizes. Learn to say no to commitment, to schedule time for yourself and to keep sight of the things that matter. There is nothing wrong in prioritizing your wellness – whether it be mental, physical, social, financial, spiritual or otherwise.
  • Spend time in the kitchen. Cooking for yourself and others is extremely hyggelig! Bring more joy into your home with homecooked meals and desserts.
  • Unlock your creativity. Draw, paint, write, make floral arrangements, knit, make music, design, sew. Do whatever gets your creative juices flowing. To feel inspired is hygge.

Embracing hygge is to embrace a lifestyle that places emphasis on self-care, gratitude, family, creativity and – above all else – happiness. In short, embracing hygge can lead to living a happier, more inspired life. I encourage you to adopt some of the hygge practices above and observe how these small changes can quickly make a big difference in your life and outlook!

Cheers to more hygge times ahead, my friends.

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