8 Ways To Hygge : How The Danish Practice Self-Care

 hygge

Do you know how to have hygge?

Hygge started to be a thing here in the United States in the last couple of years, but it’s always been something to strive towards attaining in Denmark. Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish concept that can’t be translated into one English word. It can be used to describe a feeling of contentedness, coziness, and satisfaction, or an action, or a lifestyle.

It’s about living in the moment;  no matter how small, and spending quality time with family, friends, or by yourself in a calm peaceful environment. It’s humor, warmth, and making connections. It’s the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO,) but not really missing out at all—just enjoying the simple things in life.  

Hygge is celebrating the cozy aspects of life, but it’s not only reserved for the fall and winter months. If you’re at a barbecue in the summer, surrounded by friends, and looking at the stars, or if you’re sitting outside smelling the scents of the spring flowers in bloom, then you’re experiencing hygge.

In many ways, hygge is about self-care, and some of its most important benefits to your health is that it can help you to reduce stress, increase your feelings of happiness, and can help you feel more satisfied where you are in your life right now.


8 Suggestions on how you can cultivate hygge and be a much happier person.

1. Unplug: Of the many things that hygge is, the one thing it is not is staring a screen (unless it’s a movie screen,) so close your laptop, turn off your video games, silence your cell phones, and ignore your electronics. This will also improve your sleep at night. The more rested you are, the better you’ll feel.

2. Dress in your comfiest clothes: You know those sweatpants you wouldn’t be caught dead in out in public but that you secretly love? Put them on, or your favorite yoga pants, or washed-too-many-times pants. Socks, sweaters, shawls—anything soft and cozy that makes you feel relaxed is what you want to be wearing. If you can’t be truly at ease as long as you’re wearing pants—then make it a No-Pants-Day and just wear your undies. Any wardrobe choice is good as long as you’re comfortable.

3. Give yourself permission to indulge in your comfort foods: Hygge isn’t about denying yourself, it’s about being good to yourself. So, whatever makes you feel happy whether it be comfort foods like grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken pot pies, or things that remind you of your childhood such as gummy bears or Rice Krispie Treats. In fact, the act of brewing a cup of tea, sipping a mug of hot chocolate, or making your grandma’s special chocolate cake can be part of the hygge process.

4. Schedule in hygge-time: Let’s face it, life gets busy, and it’s easy to skip downtime when you’re working on a big project, taking care of a family, or just trying to do what needs to get done. If you don’t make time for hygge, then it may not happen. Hygge is vital to a healthy lifestyle, so treat it as a special event—schedule in that casual dinner party with friends, or time to read a book, and just chill out.

5. Make your environment cozy: Pillow, candles, and extra blankets are all part of the Danish hygge-esthetic. Some might argue and say that candles are the most crucial part of making your environment favorable to hygge. Go for candles that have relaxing and cozy scents such as freshly baked cookies, lavender, or chocolate. Not only do candles look great, but their flickering flames will also add to the overall ambiance.

6. Spend time with your fur-babies: There’s nothing quite as relaxing as spending time with your pets. When you’re cozy on the couch watching a movie make sure to have your pet nearby. Showing affection like petting or grooming to your cat or dog is a great way to relieve stress and lower your blood pressure.

7. Keep costs down: One of the things about hygge is that it shouldn’t be expensive or cost you much at all. Don’t rush out to buy yourself a cozy sweater, or a bunch of throw pillows, use the resources you already have. Hygge is about living simply, and not being overly materialistic. Be resourceful and keep it simple.

8. Be gentle with yourself: Just like allowing ourselves to relax, sometimes we need to remind ourselves to be kind to ourselves, even when we’re not going through hard times. It’s okay to celebrate yourself for no reason other than you are alive.

Hygge is about taking care of yourself and doing the small ordinary things that give you pleasure. If hiking on a cool crisp day is more your thing, then the Scottish practice of coorie might be what you want as it’s more focused on spending time in nature in order to develop a deeper understanding of oneself.

What do you do to help replenish yourself? Let’s chat about it.