Am I the last person on earth to learn about hygge?
On the Oxford Dictionary’s short list for 2016 Word of the Year, hygge is a lifestyle trend that has apparently made a splash in the last year or so in the U.S.
Hygge (pronounced something like HYOO-guh) is a Danish word with no exact translation. It is a feeling, a mood, an experience – deriving joy from life’s simple pleasures.
As best I can glean from my
tiny bit of extensive research, hygge denotes coziness, contentment, simplicity, and peacefulness. A combination of the people, places, and things that make you happiest.
No electronics allowed.
Hygge is something that the Danish people take pride in elevating to an art form.
Hygge can be as simple as a cup of coffee enjoyed while wrapped in your favorite blanket, curled up in your favorite chair.
Or it can be, like feng shui, a guiding design principle for your home or office.
While previously ignorant of the concept, it seems I have had my hygge-groove on around our house for a while.
After having moved a number of times, one gets really, really tired of “stuff”. Stuff to pack and unpack, stuff to arrange, stuff to dust and stuff to move aside to make room for new stuff.
Since retuning to Chicago, we have purged our shelves of tchotchkes and are trying to create a relaxed and (without even knowing it) hygge home.
Sure we have pictures of family and friends and a few sentimental objects around the place but these are things that bring us joy – add to the hygge in our home.
Oh, wow! Now I’m really in the groove. Soon I will be a hygge expert!
Even my daily rituals suggest a bit of hygge. I have a few favorite coffee mugs which bring back great memories related to particular trips or experiences.
And some that just amuse me.
A cup of coffee in one of these mugs starts my day off right.
All day, every day, I have one of my beloved Nest candles burning. The delicate aroma makes the house feel cozy to me.
My monthly “girls’ night in” get-togethers are overflowing with hygge. They are always meant to be casual, low-key evenings spent catching up with dear friends.
Last month we had “Soup and Pajamas” night to which my pal, Mare, wore her green, full-length, fleece onsie. If that’s not a hygge outfit I don’t know what is.
My sister-in-law has an extraordinary talent for creating hygge. If I didn’t know that she was 100% Irish, I might assume that she was Danish.
This gal has an extremely stressful, high-stakes, high-power job and needs every ounce of hygge she can get.
As often as possible, she will end the day by lighting candles all over her living room, grabbing a glass of wine and a cozy throw and taking time to breathe and decompress. The hygge is at its peak when this scene includes family and friends.
Living in California means that she can enjoy outside hygge year-round where the candles are replaced by a firepit but the wine, cozy throw and loved ones are still part of the equation.
The concept of hygge, according to the Danish Ambassador, is a type of meditation – even done in a group – during which polarizing subjects are off limits in favor of focusing on what makes us happy.
I guess we all have stress, turmoil, and angst in our lives to one degree or another from time to time…or constantly.
It seems we can all use a little more hygge in our life.
How about you? Have you heard of this lifestyle movement? How do you hygge?
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