Hygge: what is it?

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) originated in Norway. It was adopted by the Danes during the 18th Century and has spread in popularity throughout the world in recent years.

Today, hygge translates roughly as “cosiness”, but in fact it means so much more. So what is hygge?

While hygge has been “commercialized” to sell products that make the home look and feel cosy, it has very little to do with material items.

Yes, there are plenty of companies cashing in on the hygge trend, but you don’t NEED all those expensive things for hygge. It’s not just for the middle classes who are able and willing to go out and blow £80 on a candle (sidenote: don’t ever blow £80 on a candle). In Denmark, hygge is something enjoyed by everyone, whether they’re rolling in kroner or not…. it’s intangible. You can buy things to help you cultivate a more hyggeligt atmosphere, sure, but you can’t buy hygge. 

Kayleigwh Tanner, Hello Hygge

Rather, “hygge is a state of mind that focuses on family, friendship, and the simple pleasures in life”.  It’s about gratitude, embracing life and enjoying every moment. It’s about celebrating ordinary moments like they are extraordinary whether alone or with family and friends.

Simple ways to incorporate hygge into your life:

1. Adopt gratitude

Turn ordinary things like chores into opportunities for gratefulness, e.g. instead of waking up thinking “Oh no, I have to do the food shopping today,” try thinking positively and being grateful that you have your health to visit the shops, and for all the people who turn out to work in them every day to keep us fed.

Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels.com

2. Include relaxation

Try creating areas in your home (or outside) where you can truly relax whether it’s a comfortable reading area, a creative craft space or a cosy breakfast nook. Make spaces where you can relax and do the things you love. You may wish to create an additional relaxing atmosphere by introducing soft lighting, e.g. candles. Or switching on some calming music. Or cuddling up on a chair by the fire whilst reading (my favourite indoor hygge practice).

Photo by Tim Samuel on Pexels.com

3. Keep things simple

When it comes to your personal life, aim for simplicity concerning commitments, obligations, and activities. Free up time for what matters most. You may have to say “no” to certain things from time to time, and spend less time on trivial matters, but you will make more time to do the things that truly matter as a result.

When it comes to your home, simplicity around the home means getting rid of all unnecessary clutter. Purge your home of any items that you don’t need or use (including clothing).

Get rid of all the items that don’t bring you joy and surround yourself only with truly necessary or meaningful things.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

It’s a great feeling to lose all the things that aren’t needed around the home. Purging frees up space and makes household chores easier having less clutter to dust and clean around. It’s a win win situation.

4. Connect with family and friends

Another way to create hygge is to unplug from social media. Put down the TV remote control, your mobile phone or any other electronic devices and connect with your family and friends instead.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Enjoy the time you have together, e.g. talk, laugh, play games—whatever brings you all closer together. These moments won’t last forever, so take time to cherish them instead of letting them zoom past without meaning.

Photo by Wendy @ Eating Elephants (More of my photos at wendy-may.com)

5. Connect with the great outdoors

Make time to go outside and connect with nature—breath in the fresh air. Take time to slow down and look—and I mean really look—at the things around you. Observe the tiny details…. the lines etched in leaves, droplets of water hanging from a branch after the rain, the smell of fresh-cut grass, the sound of a dove flapping its wings overhead, etc. Begin to “see”, “listen to” and “smell” what the outdoors has to offer and truly appreciate your surroundings. Your life will feel so much more enriched for making the time to soak up nature. You don’t have to go far to enjoy the benefits. The Ladybird photo (above) was captured a few metres from my garden gate—an area I walk past often yet would never have noticed the tiny Ladybird if I hadn’t slowed down and observed my surroundings that particular day.

The beauty of hygge

Hygge isn’t at all complicated. It’s completely free and focuses on enjoying family, friendships and the simple things in life. Most of us have hygge in our lives already whether we realise it or not, but there is always room for more of the simple pleasures in life, wouldn’t you agree?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo: Joy of mom

Next week: 2 effective ways to improve your mood right now

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4 thoughts on “Hygge: what is it?

  1. Lovely article, Wendy! I am very much into simple, back to basics living and firmly stand for everything Hygge entails. I am also fond of all things Scandi. The next book I’ll be reading is the little book of “Lagom – The Swedish Art of Balanced Living” I got for Christmas. Will be getting “The Little Book Of Hygge”, too.
    How nice you have taken to writing! After photography, it is my number one interest as well. Just wish I had a fraction of your talent; but never mind, I’ll happily just stick to my diary/journal writing. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Vesna! The book you received for Christmas sounds fab. I read “How to Hygee” by Helena Olsen some time ago, but have to say, “The Little Book of Hygge” looks really tempting. Hope you enjoy.

      Next book I’ve got lined up is called “The Art of Making Memories” by Meik Wiking.

      I love reading. I read a lot of theology and Biblical study books mainly, but enjoy something different from time to time as well.

      By the way, I enjoy your writing very much. You have a way of bringing readers right into the places you visit. You are a talented writer Vesna….and photographer. Keep doing what you do so well. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What great points, and so easy to understand 🙂
    A great book about Hygge would be The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking. He explains everything so well, and I always feel inspired when reading it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Luna.

      Yes, I have seen The Little Book of Hygge on Amazon. I admit, I was tempted to buy it. 😊

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I hope you will come by again.

      Stay safe,

      Liked by 1 person

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