I first came across hygge when I ordered a subscription box earlier this year. When I read the description for Hygge my first thought was “Wow, there’s a word for how I live my life.” It’s the perfect definition of what my life looks like. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” or “hue-gah” this Danish concept of comfort, coziness, and warmth. It’s the base of my self-care.
From the Little Book of Hygge: “Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy,” “coziness of the soul,” and “the absence of annoyance,” to “taking pleasure from soothing things,” “cozy togetherness,” and my favorite, “cocoa by candlelight.” Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”
Yasssss! My home is everything to me. The colors, the smells, the feeling of comfort – I’m all about that. I have anxiety and there have been periods in my life where it’s caused me to be agoraphobic and my world shrinks in on itself and the only thing that exists outside of that panicked feeling is my home. My surroundings, that coziness, has at times, been the only thing that keeps me sane. If you’ve picked up the 2019 Self-Love Workbook, you know there’s a little section about self-care + your home and how important it is to feel safe and happy there.
Let me share with you my Ultimate Guide to Hygge.
Lighting: One of the foundations of hygge is soft light. Candles (usually unscented) are very important. People in Denmark burn an average of 13 pounds of candlewax each year. Of course, you also can’t go wrong with natural light. I usually come home from work in the morning, pull a curtain back, open the window, and just bathe in the lovely morning sunlight.
Fairy lights have also become really popular lately. You can string them up around your bed, your altar, or your living room. It’s also just about that time to put the Christmas tree up. Just think about it. What’s better than sipping hot cocoa by twinkling Christmas lights?
Fireplaces also add just the right amount of warmth and coziness.
I swear by the calming light of my Himalayan salt lamp.
Self-Care: On the next cloudy/snowy/overcast day, light candles around your living room instead of turning on the lights. Do something relaxing like write in your journal or listen to music.
Treat yourself with sweets.
Food and Drink: The official drink for hygge is anything warm. Hot chocolate, coffee, tea, warm apple cider is all perfect. Foods that also cook all day like soups, stews, and chili that have that warm, comforting, filling vibe. The same thing goes for baking. Bake bread (pumpkin is my favorite this time of the year), muffins, cakes, or cookies. Candy, chocolate, and pastries are also a must.
Anyone who reads my newsletter knows that I have a weekly ritual on Thursday mornings when I pop in my earbuds, walk to the nearest Starbucks and donut shop and then I sit in my living room wearing my pajamas and drinking my coffee and eating the fluffiest cinnamon sugar donuts you’ve ever tasted in your life. Because this is my last day before I go back to work and I’m getting all hygge with it it’s referred to as “fredagshygee” which is your hygge practice after a long week (usually Friday or Sunday).
Self-Care: Have your own fredagshyge at the end of your work week. Plan a little something special for yourself. If you’re tired, pick up some sweets from your favorite shop, if you have the energy and the time, try your hand at baking something.
Comfort: If you tried to take my electric blanket from me I’d probably chase you down and tackle you. Aside from changing into pajamas, it’s the first thing I do when I get home on a cold day. There’s nothing better than cuddling with a warm blanket, some fluffy pillows, and a cat (or four) on my couch.
Smoosh your furniture together.
Okay, you may find this weird but last year I moved my two couches together so that they were facing each other and pushed against each other. I filled the epic-couch with blankets and pillows and basically lived there for a week. It was bliss. It’s the adult version of a pillow fort or a table tent. You can stretch out, you can watch movies, you can take glorious naps. I swear you won’t ever want to go back to having a normal adult living room.
Self-Care: Wash your favorite blankets and pillows and then pile them on your bed or couch and just enjoy the warmth and comfort.
Activities: Another part of hygge is the company that you surround yourself with. Activities that you do together as a family or with your friends is part of hygge too. Sit around the fire and watch movies or play board games or talk and tell stories. You can also do solo things like reading, crocheting, writing, painting, or drawing. Think yoga or long baths by candle-light.
Self-Care: Have a movie night, either by yourself or with your favorite people. Make popcorn or some other food to share. You can watch holiday movies, childhood favorites, or sappy chick-flicks. A few months ago I watched Me Before You and Before You Go and it was the best.
Hyggebukser: that pair of pants you’ll never leave the house in but you wear all of the time because they’re so freaking comfy.
Clothes: Whatever you change into as soon as you walk into your home is probably the perfect outfit for your hygge. It’s soft, well-worn, and above all – comfy. Pajamas, socks, slippers, that t-shirt that’s over a decade old – hygge. There’s a quote that I see on Facebook all the time that says “The fact that I have more clothes to sleep in than I do to go out in says a lot about who I am as a person.” That’s me!
Sweaters, scarves, and all things warm are hygge.
Self-Care: Spend a whole day in your jammies or treat yourself to a brand new pair of warm socks. I recommend Unicorns.
Scent: This is one of my favorite things. The way my house smells set the tone for my whole mood. I use essential oils, wax melts, and candles. Some of those cozy scents that I just absolutely love around this time of the year is apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and eucalyptus (great for cold season). I also use a lot of incense and you can find a ton of warm comfy scents.
A lot of people will also make scented simmers around this time of the year. Add water, sliced oranges, cinnamon, and a bit of vanilla extract and let it simmer on your stove for a few hours to fill your home with a holiday scent.
Self-Care: Find a scent to fall in love with this season. As soon as you come home from work light a smelly candle, incense, or turn on your essential oil diffuser.
Sound: You know how during the holidays you can always find that tv channel that has the burning log in the fireplace? I absolutely freaking love those videos. They’re called ASMR and there are thousands on Youtube. There are Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and then your everyday average ones for you normal people out there. My favorite favorite favorite one this time of the year is the Great Hall (Harry Potter) at Christmas time. It is the best!
You can also listen to Christmas music or soft instrumental music.
Self-Care: Write/journal/nap/read a book, while listening to calming and relaxing sounds.
Be in the moment.
The most important part of Hygge is just being in the moment. You don’t have to do anything special. You don’t have to put in extra effort. Just sitting with a blanket and a warm cup of coffee is enough. Whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside is enough. Be present. Unplug. Enjoy the comfort of the moment.