How Hygge Can Help You Be Happier

How Hygge Can Help You Be Happier

The clocks have turned back which means the nights are starting to get longer and the weather is getting colder. It’s officially autumn. For a pumpkin spice fuelled few, autumn and winter are magical seasons. But for others the long stretch of time between September and March can be hard. However this year, the Danes might just have a way to beat the Winter Blues. ‘Hygge’ is the word on everyone’s lips. It may defy a direct translation, but many are saying it’s the reason the Danes are the happiest nation on earth! Let’s look at how hygge can help you be happier this winter.

What The Hygge?

First things first, you won’t understand how hygge can help you unless you know what hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) is! According to the Danish hygge cannot be directly translated, it’s just hygge. Awkward. However, for those of us who want to try to explain it, it’s like having a good time in warm and cosy surroundings.  The Danes love themselves some hygge, and now the rest of the world seems to be catching on to their secret.

hygge definition

The Hygge Checklist

So, how can you channel hygge this winter?

Hygge is all about creating an atmosphere that helps you escape from the world. It’s about doing things with the people you love and being comfortable with yourself. And importantly it’s about slowing down the pace. If that sounds perfect to you, here are some suggestions for bringing a little hygge happiness into your life, bonus points if you can do them all at the same time!

Light Some Candles

light some candlesThere can be no hygge without candles. If there was a book of hygge laws, this would probably be number one! In fact, each Dane burns six kilos of candle wax per year, more than anywhere else in Europe, and 28% burn candles every day. Harsh overhead light is the antithesis of hygge, so set the scene with some diffused mood lighting, treat yourself to some new candles and feel the stresses of daily life begin to melt away.



Listen to Some Hygge Music

listen to some hygge musicYou won’t be surprised to hear that music is a great way to set a hyggelig tone. In fact, if you search Spotify for Hygge, the only thing you’ll be surprised by is how many playlists come up. When it comes to finding a chill playlist to listen to while you snuggle up in your nook, you can’t go wrong with ‘Indendørshygge’ it was created by Spotify Denmark, so you know it’s got that hyggelig factor!

Alternatively, sitting with a hot mug of coffee and listening to your vinyl collection is the perfect way to relax- hygge style! Whatever way you do it, listening to some mellow tunes when the weather outside is frightful is a great example of how hygge can help you to feel better.

Spend All Day Cooking Comfort Food

Hygge: cook comfort foodThe key here is ‘comfort food’. Whilst we’re all trying to eat a little healthier these days it’s really important to indulge every now and then in some truly comforting, stodgy, food. This is one of the keys to understanding how hygge can help you. In fact, many Danes state good food and importantly, creating good food, is a key component of a hygge lifestyle.

So crack out the cook book and start planning an indulgent recipe, bonus points if it takes all day to slowly cook. Think of taking this time to slowly prepare a wholesome meal as a gift to yourself on a rainy, cold winter’s day. Because let’s face it, the alternative is staring out the window forlornly and wishing it was summer already!

Start a Craft Project

Hygge: Start a Craft ProjectNothing says hygge like having a home filled with little things you made yourself. Especially in the run up to Christmas, why not spend an afternoon creating cute paper snowflakes to put up in the window? Or for the more adventurous crafters out there, perhaps creating a list of homemade Christmas presents would be perfect.

Crafting is a perfect way to indulge in long-term hygge. Especially when you’re making presents for others. Hygge is all about relationships and the comfort they bring. So, even if that scarf turns out slightly lopsided it’s the thought that counts.

Go For A Winter Walk (followed by a winter drink)

Hygge: Go for a Winter WalkOne of my favourite things to do when the weather starts to get darker and colder is go for a brisk walk followed by a long indulgent trip to a café or pub. Nothing beats that moment when you step inside somewhere warm and inviting on a freezing day.

You know that feeling when your cheeks start to burn as they warm back up, and you get a well of happiness that starts in the pit of your stomach? That’s hygge at its finest. Plus, there’s something elemental about slowly removing gloves, hats, scarves, coats, and sitting down to a warm drink. Coffee is the ultimate hyggelig drink according to the Danes, but I think this works just as well with hot chocolate, tea or even something a little more alcoholic

Slow Down the Pace

hygge: slow down the paceIn the summertime it almost seems wrong to spend time doing nothing. Unless you’re spending that time basking in the sun somewhere. But as winter rolls in it’s inevitable that we’ll be housebound quite a lot of the time. This is where hygge can help you. Instead of going stir crazy in the house, think of it as a time to slow down the pace.

So, the next time it seems like it’s going to be dark and miserable all day treat yo’ self. Pull out the cosy blankets, snuggle up with some popcorn on the sofa and watch your favourite films. I’ll let you into a guilty secret. I love to watch cheesy Made for TV Christmas Romances. It’s a little tradition, in the run up to Christmas, that makes being stuck inside a little bit better. Bonus points if you have a real fire that you can sit next to.

Plan to Spend Time With Friends

hygge: spend time with friendsAnother key factor of hygge is spending time with people you love; whether that’s friends, family or significant other. In the winter it can be tempting to batten down the hatches and hibernate until the spring comes. But, when as multiple hygge sources will tell you, we’re meant to be social and spending time with friends can be the best way to feel happier.

In fact, if you really want to up the hygge-factor doing any of the activities listed above with others is an automatic win. So, next time you feel the winter blues creeping in, invite someone over to cook comfort food, watch cheesy films, listen to good music and maybe even go for a little walk. That, in a nutshell, is the essence of how hygge can help you feel happier this winter.

Read All About It

hygge: read all about itThe best way to find out how hygge can help you be happier, is to read about it. Luckily for you, this year you have any number of hygge guides to choose from. My personal favourite was this one, written by Meik Wiking from the Institute of Happiness. Yes, that’s a genuine place! If that doesn’t fill you with confidence I don’t know what will! So this winter, bring a little hygge into your life. The Danes aren’t the happiest nation on earth for no reason!

Reading full stop is a great way to indulge in some hygge by yourself. Especially if it’s an activity you already enjoy doing. So, next time you feel a bit glum why not grab that book you’ve been meaning to read and settle down for an afternoon indulging your inner bookworm?

Whichever way you choose to look at it, hygge is all about feeling relaxed, cosy and content. So, even if none of the suggestions about are quite right for you, it’s important to remember that hygge is an outlook on life rather than a to-do list. The key to how hygge can help you be happier this winter is to listen to your intuition and find the positives in every season of the year.


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