Look Book Issue 3 | Be Well 20/20 | Mind Hygge Hype
Pronounced “hoo-ga”, hygge has recently taken off in the United States and Europe and become a cultural phenomenon. The word hygge is defined as, “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
Sounds like words to live by. And for the Danes, it truly is.
After all, the Danish design aesthetic is centered around slow and careful creation. Take Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chair. The skillfully hand-crafted chair is constructed with an unhurried tenacity rarely found in furniture manufacturing today. The deliberate, smooth and simplistic movement of sanding a piece of wood to the perfect arc, the precision of wrapping 395 feet of paper cord material into a chair’s frame; it’s all part of a 100-step process that is, at its very core, calming. It’s so very hygge.
So how does one achieve hygge in these times? (Yes, you can use hygge as a verb.) How you achieve it is personal, but here are some ideas to get started.
Set candles throughout your home, but specifically close to where you’ll be planted for a while. And no particular candle is required. Much to the Scandis displeasure, hygge has unsurprisingly been hijacked as a marketing tool in recent years. “Hygge scented” candles are available, but they’re not a thing. Our friends in Demark would like you to remember that hygge is a feeling, and therefore scentless. If you don’t have candles, the warm glow of a lamp or fireplace will work beautifully.
SET THE MOOD
Find a blanket, old, new or otherwise, and cozy up. Stack up fluffy pillows all around you. Light those candles. You’re getting closer. Now grab a beverage. Tea. Cocoa. Coffee. Warm water. Get a mug of something warm and delicious and start sipping.
CLEAR THE CALENDAR
Okay, overachievers. You don’t get extra points with hygge by doing anything extra. The whole point is to exist in calm. Cancel your calendar, turn off your phone, and definitely get rid of your laptop.
Knit socks, comfortable sweatpants and a cozy top is your uniform for hygge. Don’t Google “hygge lounge wear” and don’t go buy anything new. You know the outfit you wear when you’re the most hungover? That’s the one you need.
Hygge is centered in indulgence, but in a heedful way. Downing a bag of potato chips mindlessly is hygge hooey. Popping a fresh bowl of popcorn and petting your cat while you enjoy every morsel? That’s more like it.
Consider creating a batch of warm, gooey cookies while your candles glow and soft music plays. Feel your socked feet glide over the floor as you patter from the counter to the stove, savoring the process of baking. I smell a hygge moment happening.
If you don’t find yourself with a wood shop to craft the next great Scandinavian chair, consider taking up a slow, deliberate hobby. Think knitting, puzzles, journaling, or reading. You can even hygge with someone else by inviting them to sit with you and have a conversation. Just maybe make sure they’re six feet away.
There are thousands of says to get hygge right. But the easiest way to get it wrong is to try and buy your way into. Meik Wiking, the CEO of Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen and author of “The Little Book Of Hygge” puts it simply.
“The true essence of hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and it’s basically like a hug, just without the physical touch,” he says.
Just remember the most important part of hygge. Like JLo’s love, it doesn’t cost a thing. You can achieve hygge anywhere, at any time. Take the time to relax, breathe, and be in the moment.
No credit card required.