I recently decided that my word for the year 2017 is the Danish word “Hygge.” Loosely translated, hygge means “taking pleasure from the simple, cozy things in life and the company of friends.” That’s what I really need this year so I’ve spent the last few days compiling the best tips on making my life more hygge and coming up with a few of my own. If you want to bring more joy and coziness to your life, then these tips might be helpful to you as well.
Around the House
- Surround yourself only with things you love.
Danish homes follow a minimalistic, open style. Edit your environment so you only see items that you love and have meaning when you look around your house.
- Bring the outside in
If it’s too cold outside to experience nature, bring a little nature into your home. Indoor plants help clean the air in your home and flowers always provide a decorative bright spot.
- Add fairy lights
Does anything add more magic to a room than twinkling fairy lights? Keep the holiday spirit alive until spring!
- Pimp out your bathroom
The bath is one area where you don’t need to be minimalistic. Surround yourself with everything you need for the ultimate restorative bath.
- Candles, candles, and then add candles
I was a big fan of lighting a candle to make things more cozy even before I embraced hygge, but now I know the joy of lighting multiple candles, dimming the lights and letting the multiple scents drift the house. Heaven!
- Warm drinks
Hot drinks like tea or cocoa are always hygge. You can’t gulp them because you’ll burn your tongue so you’re absolutely forced to slow down and savor the moment. To be fully hygge, you shouldn’t just pour a powdered mix into your hot water. Instead, take some time to make some truly gourmet homemade hot chocolate and you’ll never go back to the instant.
- Baked goods
Baking requires you to slow down and pay attention or things can go horribly wrong. The Danish enjoy making their own sourdough rye bread, which takes at least two days to make.
- Homemade Soup
Is there anything cozier than a big batch of soup bubbling on the stove? This Danish Split Pea Soup will fill your house with wonderful smells while it cooks and makes a wonderful simple dinner paired with the sourdough rye bread.
- Potluck dinner with friends
Hygge is all about convivial experiences with friends. But you don’t want to be stressed out with too much work to prepare for entertaining. Instead, invite your friends over for a potluck dinner and enjoy the easy community.
- Game Night!
Break out some board games and invite the gang over for an evening of friendly competition. Spending time at home with friends is way better than hanging out in some noisy bar.
- Hiking in nature
The Swedes have a saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Even if the weather isn’t ideal, you can still get out and enjoy nature. Just bundle up appropriately!
- Ice Skating
Skating on an outdoor rink can’t be beat as a hyggeligt actvitiy but indoor rinks can provide tons of fun as well. Another great activity to share with friends!
- Sauna Time
I can’t think of anything more Nordic than relaxing in a sauna. I don’t know if you really sweat out toxins, but it sure feels like it and you’ll walk out refreshed and relaxed. No home sauna or access to one through your gym? See if your town has a spa with sauna access and book a massage as well!
- Swim in an indoor pool
I can tell you from experience how cozy and satisfying it is to go for a swim in an indoor pool on a rainy afternoon.
- Enjoy a nice sleep in
Some of my happiest times are on Sunday mornings.
- Spend Time in Front of a Roaring Fire
If you have a fireplace, by all means, use it! An outside fire pit is also very hyggeligt. Just take your candles and your drink and plop yourself in front of it.
- Curl up with a good book
Perhaps the best hygge experience is to spend the evening snuggled in with a loved one (or alone) and a good book.
- Netflix and Chill with takeout and a loved one.
Protip: The loved one is optional, but the takeout is absolutely mandatory.
- Leave work on time (or even early!)
Maybe the Danish are one of the happiest cultures on earth because they don’t admire the seventy hour work week the way Americans do. When their 4:00 p.m. quitting time (I know!) rolls around, they leave to get on with the rest of their day. Why not schedule the activity that’s most important to you on your work calendar as an important appointment and see if the world stops when you leave?
- A cozy throw
Cozy throws are a MUST! This can make or break snuggle time on the couch w/ a book + hot choccy!
- Comfy socks
Comfortable, stylish socks are essential for the proper Hygge experience. Make sure they are soft as well as beautiful. The opposite of hygge is surely “itchy.”
- A great mug
To embrace hygge properly, you’re going to need to drink a lot of hot drinks. Make sure your mug gives you pleasure.
- Yoga pants
You can’t feel hyggelig in pants with a waistband. I recently purchased these yoga pants from Amazon and I can tell you that they are the literal best. They have pockets! Pockets! Pockets! You can go out without a purse and not make someone else have to carry your phone! Athleta leggings also have pockets, but they’re a little expensive for me. At any rate, you must be comfortable in your pants and able to eat vast quantities of danish pastries without discomfort.
Ok, I know that Uggs are played out and not even Danish, I know I’m probably the last person on earth to get a pair, but if you haven’t yet, think about it. Your feet will thank you!
- Hygge Books
I’ve been soothing myself to sleep each night with a variety of books about the hygge lifestyle. I’ve had a mild cold for the past week and I’m feeling very low-energy so looking at pictures of people indulging in comforting activities has been a fantastic tonic. I’m getting the rest I need while looking at pictures of other people cuddling cats and downing hot tea. Seeing all these folks relax has been giving me permission to do the same.
My favorite so far is How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life, which is filled with pictures of attractive people in attractive settings and includes delicious-looking recipes which I’ll try as soon as I feel up to dirtying the kitchen again. Next up for me is The Little Book of Hygge.
Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤