I’m not sure if you have heard of the term ‘Hygge’, as it’s actually from Denmark, origininating from the Norweigen word, well-being. It is as difficult to pronounce as well as it is to describe but in a nutshell it’s about appreciating the little things in life. As Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson sang about, ‘The best things in life are free’…in hygge terminology, they were not far wrong.
Hygge is a simple experience combined with a relaxed atmosphere shared with those we love. It is about feeling safe, comfortable and calm around each other or indeed on your own. Translate it into English and it means ‘cosiness’, which is true as it about feeling snug and secure, but there is much more to it in terms of unraveling its true meaning.
Hygge often involves home comforts like sipping on a warm coffee, home cooking and without a doubt little indulgences such as pastries and cakes. It’s about sharing and appreciating that special little moment together. It could be sitting in a friend’s garden reminiscing about past times whilst drinking ice tea on a lazy summer afternoon.
‘The little book of Hygge’ by Meik Wiking explains the key elements of hygge and how you can create special hygge environments for yourself. Accoring to Wiking hygge is defined by,
‘Togetherness, relaxations, indulgence, presence and comfort. It all boils down to the pursuit of everyday happiness – the art of creating intimacy and cocoa by candlelight.’
Denmark currently ranks as one of the happiest nations in the world and there is alot to learn about how they do it. The harsh weather and high taxes means that the Danes are already up against it in terms of quality of life. The fact that they make time and meet up with their friends and family on a regular basis is instrumental in the making of the happiest nation in Europe.
Social relationships are fundamental in terms of human happiness. The World Happiness Report states,
‘While basic living standards are essential for happiness, after the baseline has been met, happiness varies more with quality of human realtionships than income.’
Light is another one of the main ingredients into making a ‘hygglig’ environment. The Danes are drowning in darkness during the autumn and winter months and a radiant, well lit room is a life saver as it gets you through the bleakest of days. Imagine coming home to a warm, cosy house after a day at work to see candles flickering and pools of light from your well placed occassional lamps and a roaring log burner in the corner…(oh, and there was a raging storm outside) – that’s hygge!
You can still feel, smell and touch hygge in the summer months too: the smell of newly cut grass, the sound of the sea and of course the never ending flow of sunshine. Maybe you find yourself sheltering under the shade of a large tree in your garden, or how hygge would it be to go for a midnight swim and watch the stars… or it could be a barbecue at night with your closest family and friends. Of course the evening wouldn’t be complete without a candlelit garden and some twinkling lights and maybe a game of La petanque whilst you’re waiting…
Summer Hygge is going for a picnic on the beach with a coolbox packed full of fresh fruit, bread and cheese. Gather a few friends and spend the day chatting and reading whilst the kids play. Or how hygge would it be to ride your bike along the coastine with plenty of ice cream stops along the way.
So next time you’re sitting on the beach, reading a great book and watching the world go by – you may think to yourself, ‘how hygge!’