Hygge is a feeling. A way of life. Here’s 14 ways to get a little hygge any time of year.
Hygge is being talked about everywhere, it seems. It’s a Danish concept, pronounced Hoo-ga, with no exact English translation. I think of it as what I call ‘the warm-fuzzies’. Those feelings of comfort and coziness, togetherness, general happiness and contentment. Like everything in that moment just feels right.
Contrary to what a quick Pinterest search would have you believe, hygge is not all about cozy fires and cups of tea. (Although those are very hygge things!) It’s an atmosphere, a feeling, a calm energy. It’s relishing in life’s simple pleasures.
As I write this, it’s mid-February, which is the dreariest time of year where I live. And it’s super easy to get a major case of the winter blues. But hygge isn’t just about making the most of the gray, cold winter. You can get your hygge on any time of year. A lazy day on the beach with a good book is hygge day. Having a beer around a bonfire with good friends is totally hygge. Sitting next to a window during a warm summer rain is a hyggelig (hygge-like) way to spend an afternoon.
Working some hygge into your life is an easy way to slow down and focus on enjoying the moment. You can do it any time of year. Here’s 14 ways to get you started.
14 Ways to Hygge
1. Sit down to drink your coffee or tea.
I’m guilty of drinking my morning coffee while applying makeup, serving breakfast, and packing lunches. And I’m a total coffee lover, so I do enjoy my coffee any time I can drink it. But when I sit down to sip my coffee? Man, there’s nothing like it. Drinking in the rich aroma slowly is so hygge. Even better on a Saturday morning, at the breakfast table with my husband and kids.
2. Write a gratitude list.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for those ‘warm-fuzzies’ I mentioned earlier, try writing down all the things you’re grateful for. Those are the most hyggelig things in life.
3. Have a conversation with a friend (not via text or Messenger).
Have an actual conversation, spoken out loud, with a friend. Give her a call, or set up a coffee date (even more hygge than a phone call!) and give yourself time and space to really catch up. There’s even a special word for this type of cozy conversation. It’s hyggesnak (hoo-ga-snak).
4. Enjoy a seasonal treat.
Popsicles in summer. Cider in fall. Hot cocoa in winter. Lemonade in spring. Enjoying the tastes of the season is such a hygge way to be in the here and now.
5. Make something from scratch.
Taking the time to make something from scratch, whether it be a cake, a loaf of bread, a lasagna, or a simple fruit salad, is totally hyggelig. It’s all about the slowness, the care and attention.
6. Turn on some background music.
Find your favorite station or playlist and play it during dinner, or while cleaning up afterward. I love the All Acoustic station on Amazon Music .
7. Dress cozy.
Comfort is very important to a hygge life, and layers are key. Even in warm months, a gauzy kimono can be thrown over a sundress or shorts and tanktop. Soft and casual, not overly fussy, and definitely wooly pieces like scarves and sweaters when it’s cold.
8. Play a card or board game.
Put away the Candy Crush (is that still a thing??) and play an actual board game with an actual real-life person. There will never be anything hygge about Candy Crush.
9. Light a fire.
Fire seems to be a crucial hygge element. If you don’t have a fireplace, light some candles. Or have a bonfire outside. Leave your phones indoors and get even more hyggelig.
10. Take a walk in nature.
There is something about nature. Hearing the sounds and breathing in the fresh air centers and grounds you. Slows you. Very hyggelig.
11. Make a simple craft.
Similar to making a dish from scratch, making a craft forces you to slow down and focus on the present moment. Amp up the hygge factor by using elements from nature. Wood, greenery, fiber, stone, clay. Do keep it simple and manageable though. There’s nothing hygge about a frustrating project.
12. Unplug for a day.
Put your phone on silent. Maybe even put it in a drawer. Unplug from technology for a day to give yourself time to reconnect and decompress from the overwhelming barrage of incoming information we get via our mobile devices.
Related: 10 Signs You Need a Digital Detox
13. Open your curtains and enjoy the view.
Let the light in! Light is a major component in the idea of hygge. And if it’s raining, still open your curtains and enjoy the soothing sound of water tapping the windows.
14. Hang around and talk after dinner.
Let the dishes set and enjoy the company of the lovely people you get to do life with. Maybe serve some leftover cake you made from scratch and a cup of coffee. Light the candles. Play some background music. Avoid checking your phone. And just enjoy the hygge-ness.
Curious about this Danish secret to happy living? Get your hands on The Little Book of Hygge. Author Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and explains hygge beautifully and with a wink of humor. The book itself is so hyggelig, you’ll feel the warm-fuzzies just seeing it on your shelf.