If you've never heard of the term 'hygge' before then you're about to find it everywhere this Autumn. Ever since Danish hit 'The Killing' (and THAT jumper) reached our shores, Scandinavian influences have been filtering into our fashion and home decor.
Now, the art of hygge (pronounced Hue-gah) is the focus of a number of books hitting the shops. Originating in Denmark this practice is popular in all Scandinavian countries and, if you're not embracing it already, you should do...
So what is hygge?
The word hygge actually derives from a Norwegian word meaning 'wellbeing', however, there’s no direct translation into English - the closest is probably ‘cozy’. In Scandinavia the winters are long, dark and cold but they embrace this as a time to ‘cozy’ up with all the things that make them feel happy.
Hygge can encompass a range of things;
- It could be gathering together family and friends to eat delicious food, drink wine and be merry.
- It could be curling up with your loved one on the sofa with a soft blanket and a good film or the latest box set.
- It could be snuggling up on your own with a hot chocolate and that book you’ve been promising yourself you’ll read.
Hygge was never meant to be described - it is meant to be felt. However you choose to hyggeligt, it’s about immersing yourself in those things that make you feel whole and happy.
Why is it good for me?
It’s natural at this time of year, when the days start getting shorter, to want to hibernate. However, we still have a long list of demands on our time and trying to achieve too much can leave you frazzled and burnt out.
The cold weather can also deplete your natural immunity so this, on top of a fast-paced lifestyle, could be the reason why we end up feeling fatigued, catching a rotten cold and feeling generally low.
By taking the time to slow down a little and dedicate space in your diary to do the indulgent things that make you happy you’ll help to stay well and find balance in body, mind and soul – and you know in yoga we love a bit of balance!
The Danish are actually said to be one of the happiest nations on Earth so they're obviously doing something right!
A few suggestions...
- enjoy the glow and scent of some candles in your home (the Danish really get through their candles!) Just remember not to leave them unattended.
- the Scandinavians love their coffee and cake and often get together for fika (which literally means 'to have coffee')
- got a night in alone? Run yourself a warm bath, pop a hot water bottle in your bed and snuggle up for an early night with a little warm milk, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
How can I find out more?
If you want to read more about hygge, here are three top picks;
Landscape images courtesy of Spencer Stone