The Art of Hygge

Catherine Lawson

We all know the joy which comes from a soft blanket, a log fire and a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day but when it comes to finding comfort in everyday living, the Danes have mastered it and turned it into the philosophy which we know as Hygge.

Put simply, Hygge means creating a cosy atmosphere and enjoying the simple things in life with family and friends. It’s about embracing wholesomeness and togetherness; the things which nurture our mind, body and soul.

So how can you bring some hygge into your life? Chances are you’re already doing it because while the images we see associated with this Scandinavian way of living often involve cashmere socks, a roaring fire and candlelit rooms overlooking snowy landscapes, there’s just as much hygge to be found in that comfort cardi you wear when you get home from work or that oversized mug of tea that you drink in bed on a Saturday morning while you’re cosied up listening to the rain battering against your windows. It just feels good, right? Hygge is all about the feelings.

Food is one way to embrace that feeling and there’s no end to the things we enjoy which offer that feeling of comfort and contentment; a big bowl of porridge, a mug of homemade soup, warm chunks of bread with slow melting butter, a freshly baked cake… the list goes on. Or what about the first cup of coffee in the day (is there honestly anything in the world that can give you more hygge in a heartbeat than that?) or a hot chocolate with melting marshmallows on top? It isn’t about overindulging, it’s about savouring every bite or sip in the moment, especially if someone we love is savouring it with us.

Those comfort eats are just one part of the hygge equation, though – how and where we enjoy them is just as important. Surrounding ourselves with things that soothe our soul is essential when cultivating cosiness. It’s time to turn the big lights off in favour of soft, low lighting, gentle uplighters or, best of all, a flickering sea of candles. It’s all about quietening the senses, putting scrollable devices away, and opting for a good old-fashioned book, some feel-good music or relaxed conversation with friends. Add to that some soft blankets, some faux fur cushions and a well-worn chair and you’re almost there.

Hygge is something we can embrace on our own – and let’s face it time alone to find a moment of calm can be a glorious thing – but sharing these moments with others by enjoying small pleasures with family and friends is at the very heart of this philosophy. In many ways the times when we’re at our most relaxed, enjoying the small pleasures of life together, are the times when we’re at our closest with one another. They’re the times when we talk and laugh together, connect with each other without the usual distractions and create memories. It’s easy to see why the Danish prioritise this philosophy in life and how they are, in turn, amongst the happiest people in the world.

Embracing wholesomeness and togetherness is something that is just as important to our health and wellbeing as diet and exercise. So put the kettle on, light those candles, grab your favourite pair of PJs and cuddle up on the couch with your loved ones. It’s time to embrace the art of hygge for a healthier, happier you.