I first became aware of hygge at an Action For Happiness event in 2015 with Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. Since then, Scandi-interest seems to have taken off, with hygge getting a lot of newspaper coverage. There are also now whole books dedicated to this Danish concept.
The good news is, you don’t have to be Danish nor in Denmark to get some hygge in your life. And actually, according to a Danish acquaintance of mine, hygge isn’t an inherently Danish thing – it has always existed in all corners of the world!
So what does it look like?
Winters in Scandinavia are long and dark, with limited daylight hours. When the sun goes down, it stays down for a while. It is for this reason that there are high instances of Seasonal Affective Disorder (the notorious “winter blues”) and even suicide in Scandinavia during this time of year.
Hygge is all about making the most of it, and spending warm, cosy evenings indoors, doing activities together and enjoying good food and drink. Rather than a night out on the town, it’s about more intimate evenings indoors spent with friends and loved ones.
- Sitting together under a banket watching a good film
- Playing a boardgame (the more ‘active’ the better – Twister, for example)
- Enjoying a cosy meal around the dinner table (foods that can be passed around are more hygge-esque)
- Event sitting together and reading your own books
So hygge = Togetherness. Shared experiences. Love. Connection.
That’s it. And of course, mobile phones not in sight – ideally off/on airplane mode, or at the very least on ‘silent’. (Mobile phones & WiFi are, in my opinion, one of the biggest contributors to the lack of connection & increased isolation/loneliness many of us are currently feeling).
Hygge is for being in he real world, free from other distractions. Just one or two “hygge evenings” here and there with friends or family can go a long way.
This article first appeared on QuarterLifeIntrovert: read more articles and find out more about Jas right here.