What does Hygge even mean, and is it worth the hype?
If you've been on Instagram or Pinterest lately, you'll no doubt have noticed that things have been getting just a little Scandinavian. From minimalist fashion to clean, chic but homely interiors, everyone's infatuated. As the obsession continues, a strange word, 'hygge', has begun appearing alongside these trends. So what exactly does it mean, and is it just another fad wellness movement?
The big ideaIt turns out that the concept of hygge at least (which by the way is pronounced 'hoogah' for anyone desperately trying to say it!) is something I can totally get on bored with. In English it's a bit like what we would call feeling cosy. But it's also more than that - hygge is about feeling safe, warm and peaceful, whether in the comfort of your home or out at a bar, restaurant or even in the great outdoors around a camp fire, surrounded by friends and family or even in total solitude.
Since I was more than a little curious about how I could get me a slice of this goodness, I decided to purchase Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge, and find out for myself just why the world is paying so much attention to the Danes.
As CEO of Copenhagen's Happiness Research Institute, Meik is the perfect person to advise on how to get your hygge on. Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world, and while you might argue that this is because they're also among the best paid and least overworked too, they also have to contend with dark winters and days and days of rain.
It makes sense then that in a country like Denmark you'd put as much effort as possible into creating a happy, warm environment that even horrible weather and insanely short days can't put a dampner on. So how can you bring a little bit of hygge into your own home?
Getting your hygge onAs Meik observes in his book. for most Danes hygge starts with cosy lighting and homely settings. Aside from residing in some of the best decorated homes in the world, they're among the most prolific candle burners in the world, with a huge 28% of the population lighting them every day without fail. It's the perfect way to make a room feel warmer and create a real atmosphere. So light your favourites, grab a book and snuggle up under a blanket for the ultimate hygge feeling.
Food and drink also play a big part in hygge. Hearty, rustic dishes, alongside treats like cake, pastries and coffee are popular staples. There's a reason that the Danish consume so much bacon, and so many sweets! It's all about giving yourself that feel-good comfort factor.
How you spend your hygge time is also important. Denmark is a country that likes to spend its time socialising - playing games, listing to music and enjoying food together. With the colder months now arriving and Christmas just around the corner it seems the most appropriate time to be giving hygge a go!
Is hygge worth the hype?While the ideas that surround the concept of hygge are nothing new, especially to the Danish, there's a lot we can gain from striving for more of it.
These days everyone is obsessed with wellness (myself included) and it suggests that perhaps something is missing. We don't feel right - we're all too busy, too tired, too lonely. We don't do enough to make ourselves happy. Somehow I think this latest trend has taken off for a reason.
In a world where we're surgically attached to our phones and glued to Netflix half the night, taking time to carve out a calmer and slower way of life is bound to do us some good.
Have you read Meik's book? Do you make an effort to get more 'hygge' time these days? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. If you're in the market for some gorgeous smelling new candles, check out the ones in my previous post!