Hygge (hue-guh or hoo-gah):
A Scandinavian word for the feeling of cosiness generated by our surroundings and attitudes.
Although Hygge has always been around, it became big in 2016 when the creatives of society became familiar with it.
Something that surprised me, is that every year thousands of people across the northern hemisphere suffer from a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder – fittingly abbreviated to SAD.
SAD is brought on by the short days, long nights and terrible weather that all come with winter. Energy levels sink and motivation becomes next to non-existent. Nowadays, cute, soft white snow days are a myth – winter consists of rain, rain, wind and more rain.
This is where Hygge comes in. The soft colours, candlelight and positive mental attitude can help anyone to make the most out of winter instead of resenting it. The key to creating Hygge for yourself is easy, if you are prepared to have a positive attitude – honestly, the whole concept relies on it.
Here are some tips to get yourself started:
How happy we are is, mainly, determined by the amount of effort we put into our lives. Depression and SAD can leave us feeling that even the smallest of tasks is overwhelming, therefore in order to regain our happiness, we must strive to take control again, and start small.
Changing our environment, looking after ourselves and appreciating the finer things in life are all steps towards this. Try a new hobby, learn a new skill or language… Trying new things can help to get us back on track.
This is all part of true Hygge. Your mindset is the key to feeling calm and cosy because your body won’t relax until your mind does.
Decorating your home is up there with the most important things to do for ultimate Hygge. Take a tip from the Swedes, Norwegians and Danes when it comes to home décor, they tend to keep things minimal, go for neutral colours and materials and incorporate one or two bright colours to give off a feeling of a welcoming home – and a splash of your unique personality.
Carpets and rugs feel amazing on your feet when you peel off your socks after a long day, and cushions and throws are a given when decorating for comfort. Give your home an artsy look with a framed picture.
Simple, yet crucial: a clean environment automatically helps, probably the most, to create Hygge. As the saying goes: a clean house means a clean mind. Grab a bin bag and start decluttering, have 3 different boxes/bags: a charity shop bag, bin bag and a box for the things that need to go away until next summer.
Add warmth with candles, a relatively cheap solution and extremely effective. Alternatively, swap out your main room light with a low-watt lamp to add some warm lighting to the room – or, even better, do both! Soft lighting adds a calmness to the room that invites you in from the cold, rainy evenings and helps you to forget all about them.
Food & Drink
For me, Hygge feels just like Christmas: warm, cosy, and fun. And if we’re associating it with Christmas, it would be rude not to eat plenty of amazing food…
It’s amazing what a good meal can do for our mood, especially a healthy one. I know I probably lost a few of you at “healthy”, 3 months ago it would have lost me too, but healthy really does not have to mean boring! All it takes is a Google search to find a recipe that will taste good, and make you feel even better. After all, a healthy body is a happy body.
As for drinks, think hot. Hot chocolate, tea, and coffee are essential for the bitter weather. Hygge or not, a hot drink in winter goes together like salt and pepper – fundamentally.
Every day we are reminded of winter approaching. Time flies, and it’s not always fun, but with a little Hygge in your life, winter can be.
If you’re going to take any advice this winter, let it be this… After all, the Scandinavians know their stuff about living the good life, and that happiness is the key to a good life. We should all strive for happiness in some way or another, so if you’re struggling, take a leaf out of their book and give Hygge a try.