A couple of years ago now I was introduced to the Danish word Hygge. You may recall this yourself. It was THE thing to know about. When I read about hygge I knew that I was very hygge and so today let’s take a look at this Danish phenomenon and what I mean by being hygge.
For a long time, I played with how to pronounce the word. It started off with something like hy-gee. And then high-gee. A friend reliably informed me that it’s more like hooo-ger. With the ooo part being formed more at the back of the throat.
Anyway, however it’s said, what is it all about?
There is no official translation into English. So, it goes something like this:
- It’s about cosiness – as am I
- wellbeing – so into this
- time alone – crucial for me
- time with a few friends – perfect for the introverts among us
- there are nearly always candles involved – lots of those around the place
- there may be a roaring fire – tick
- eating – especially cake. Think Danish pastries and biscuits – enough said
- it’s a time for intimacy, togetherness and connectedness – family time for me
- hot chocolate works well as a hygge beverage – thank goodness as I don’t drink tea
- reading – so many books read and so many more to come
- soothing music – we each have our own version of this
- the absence of loud sounds so that you can tune into the world around you – the sound of the ocean; the birds in the trees; the gentle snoring of the dog
- there’s a sense that we are home and safe – and breathe
- happiness and social interaction – face to face. Remember those times?
- something in between socialising and relaxing – long walks with the dog and friends, followed by snoozing by the fire
- Christmas hygge brings with it, traditions eg advent calendars, heavy foods and the like – I bloody love Christmas!
Are you getting the picture?
This art form that the Danish people use to bring happiness to some of the longest nights and coldest winters has a lot going for it. The Danes don’t allow the inclement weather and lack of daylight hours to dampen their mood and define their mental and emotional wellbeing. No, instead they hygge.
Hygge is very important to the Danes. Hygge is about letting go off the everyday stresses and strains. It’s about taking time away from the harsh realities of the outside world. It’s also about being present with what is. You have your guard down completely. You shed the fear of the fast pace of life and embrace the slow lane of pleasure and happiness. Life is a worthwhile pursuit and not a drain on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Denmark is said to be one of the happiest places to live on the planet and they know that hygge isn’t just for Christmas, it’s a way of life. I invite you as we enter the darkest days of our year to embrace a little bit of hygge and see what happens for you.
Here’s to a Merry and Hygge Christmas.
What else is possible now I wonder?