Top 6 Tips to Boost Your Hygge at Home1 comment
How to Have More "Hygge” - The Danish Secret to Happiness
First things first; what is Hygge?
Hygge is a Danish/ Norwegian word (pronounced “hoo-ga”) that doesn’t have an exact translation but is often equated to “comfort,” “pleasurable moments,” a “feeling of cozy togetherness.” Hygge is about the atmosphere and experience, rather than a certain thing. It’s about looking into a room full of friends and family all laughing together than the $100 bottle of wine that was brought.
With the winter season upon us, aka the sun setting at 4pm (*cries in Californian*), we find ourselves rallying in the house more, feeling restless but often bored and unsure of how we actually feel. Especially with the holidays nearing and an impending pressure to make sure we “get things done.”
The Scandinavians have created a culture of happiness (with Denmark, Norway, and Finland all landing in the “World's Happiest Country” ranking more than 5 times each) and we definitely have something to learn from them.
And while Danes are certainly not the only ones who can enjoy the atmosphere, comforts, and coziness of the hygge lifestyle, we can similarly (and easily) create a variety of the same ideals within our own homes.
Have you started to ask yourself – “ok, how do I implement “hygge” into my life?”
Take a look at these top 6 tips to boost your hygge at home and you’ll be as happy as a Dane in no time.
Yes, you can already check one off your list! Look at you go! But keep reading...
Having so little light in the winter can easily bring us. We’re not naturally nocturnal beings, and when we have to cram eight hours of daylight into a handful...well...it’s obviously just not doable (looking at you, rainy PNW neighbors).
So, how to bring in more “light,” and not spend hundreds on the electricity bill?
Turn off your overhead lights and bring out the candles (the Danes use unscented but we’re not here to judge)! Using warmer light instead of harsh overhead light automatically brings in a sense of “cozy.” Can’t burn candles where you live? Head to your local thrift store and grab a few lamps to strategically place around your place to create “accent light.”
PS: the rule of thumb for bulbs: the lower the temperature of the light, the more hygge. And don’t forget to air out your room when done burning the candles!
Time spent with others creating a warm, inviting atmosphere for everyone to share in is very hygge.
Being with other people is a key part of hygge. And what’s more traditional around the holidays than being with family? When you’re with “your people,” you’re able to share in experience together while still being able to be yourself. Relaxed. Happy. Confident. Safe.
We are social creatures and continually building experiences together will help us stay energized and even help elevate our own sense of belonging.
Don’t have nearby family? Don’t forget, you are allowed to create your own family and friend groups who accept you and love you for who you are.
This season, let go of the need for things to go a certain way, for the food to be perfect, for everyone to be on time, and just enjoy the moments as they're created.
You’ve probably heard of the design term “Scandinavian minimalism,” and if you haven’t, it’s exactly what it sounds like. No clutter. Clean. Sleek. And lots and lots of exposed wood.
But wood is not enough for the Danes. With so much time spent inside during the winter months, they bring outside...in! With so much of their culture being rooted in naturalism, they decorate with the outdoors.
Leaves, twigs, pine needles, dried berries, the list goes on!
For us in LA, it’s a bit harder to scavenge your backyard for dried berries and pinecones.
At The Hidden Garden we offer many types of naturally beautiful floral arrangements that are “hygge approved,” to display inside the home. For example, we’re about to create a Holiday Wreath, made up of noble fir greenery, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and more! If it can’t be a white christmas, might as well make it a green one!
For those who aren’t local to LA, we offer our online video Holiday Collection that guides you through creating a professional hygge floral bouquet from home (includes floral recommendations with each video tutorial)!
You’re probably aware of the benefits that come with giving ourselves a break from staring at our screens all day. But there have been many studies now about how being on our phones becomes more and more addictive and habit forming.
The 5 most common benefits for your mental health that phone (or social media) breaks bring are:
- Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Reduced stress levels
- Better sleep
- Strengthened memory
- Increased self-confidence
Of course, when you work Monday to Friday and get paid to stare at a screen 9-5, it’s hard to justify giving yourself screen-free time.
Not everyone struggles with this, however, the benefits outweigh the time invested on your phone.
Consider this- if you put your phone down for an entire day, what hobby (you know, the one that you’ve wanted to get back into for a while now) would you start? Why can’t you start now?
Start small. Set timers for yourself or for certain apps on your phone so that you don’t mindlessly scroll through your lunch break. Pick up a book, go for a walk, or listen to a podcast while you eat your lunch.
5. Blankets and Cushions
As cheesy as it sounds, blankets and cushions are must-haves. To curl up with a blanket (even if you’re not cold) to get cozy is very hyggeligt (hygge-like). Spending time on an activity you enjoy can boost your mental health and wellbeing.
As far as cushions, they might be reserved for the floor sitters, aka the ones who can’t get close enough to the fireplace. Large or small cushions are essential to comfort and here.
At the end of the day, hygge, cozy, comfort (whatever you want to call it), is about taking your responsible, burnt out/ overworked adult and giving them a break. To be relaxed; just for a little bit. It’s about experiencing happiness through simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be ok.
6. Food and Drink
Hygge is a beautiful reminder to slow down but also about being kind to yourself; especially around food during the holidays.
Gone are the days of investing in juice cleanses so you can eat your holiday meals guilt-free. That is not hygge. Sweets are hygge. Coffee cake and hot chocolate are hygge. Carrot sticks? Not so much.
“Something sinful is an integral component of the hygge ritual. But it should not be something fancy or extravagant.” writes Meik Wiking (CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen)
If a CEO of a HAPPINESS RESEARCH is telling us that we need to focus more on comfort food, then we should listen. A vegetable stew is hygge. Popcorn and warm drinks is (preferably with friends around a fire or with a blanket and your favorite book). Baking pastries is. The more rustic it is, the more hygge! Are we getting it now?
Hygge is about happiness and finding happiness in the small moments.
“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy cake, and that is almost the same thing…”
Here is a Norwegian mulled wine recipe from The Little Book of Hygge (because no December is complete without warm drinks) to help you stay cozy during these next few months:
Serves 6-10. Cooking time 20 minutes (plus soaking time for raisins)
For the gløgg essence:
4 handfuls of raisins
10 ounces port
1 bottle of heavy red wine* (*don’t go for the cheapest ones, but there is no need to spend all your savings for mulled wine either)
1 cup brown sugar (preferably a brown sugar that consists of sugar crystals and cane syrup- but a normal brown sugar will do)
20g cinnamon sticks (8-10 sticks)
20g allspice (whole)
20g cloves (whole)
10g cardamom (whole)
For the gløgg:
2 bottles of heavy red wine
¾ cup brown rum
¾ cup akvavit (or vodka)
Peel of 1 orange
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup chopped almonds
- Soak the raisins in the port, preferably for 24 hours.
- Start by making the gløgg essence. Pour the bottle of red wine into a pot, add the sugar and cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cardamom, and heat to just below boiling point. Turn off the heat and allow to cool, then strain out the aromatics.
- Add the additional bottles of red wine, spirits, orange peel and juice to the gløgg essence. Again, heat to just below boiling point, and then add the raisins, port and the almonds. Serve warm.
There you have it! The Hidden Garden's take on the Danish lifestyle of "hygge."
The Hidden Garden is here to help you boost your hygge at home. So take these 6 tips into consideration while you start to decorate, plan your holiday festivities, invite your family and friends over! Remember to do as the Scandinavians do and enjoy the simple things in life.