If you pay close attention to the self-help and self-care industries, you’ve probably come across the term “Hygge” once or twice. In fact, it’s becoming hard to avoid it, even if you don’t follow these industries. The biggest question that I had when I first saw this term was, what is Hygge and how does it relate to self-care?
Hygge is all about taking better care of yourself and creating a cozy, relaxing environment. It should bring you more joy and comfort, without having too many rules about what this environment needs to have. There is a lot of flexibility with it, but it has a lot of benefits for self-care.
Importance of Self-Care
Self-Care is all about taking better care of yourself. This includes your physical, mental, and emotional health. It encourages you to find time out of each day all to yourself where you can relax and unwind. This might be taking a bath after a long day or waking up a few minutes early to go for a walk or have a quiet cup of coffee.
What each person chooses to do in the name of self-care can be very different, as ‘relaxing’ is subjective.
When choosing what works best for you, you might come across the concept of Hygge. Here is a rundown of what this is, how it helps, and what you can do to start incorporating it into your life.
1. What Is Hygge?
Hygge, which is pronounced by some as “hue-gah” and by others as “hoo-gah”, is a Danish word that can be translated to the word “cozy”. However, Hygge is something that is more of a feeling than it is a word. As a lifestyle or a practice, Hygge is an extension of this description.
Hygge is a Scandinavian way of life that encourages people to find peace and happiness in the everyday world around them. Whatever makes you feel cozy, happy, and at home is Hygge. Whenever you experience a moment that makes you appreciate life and the people around you, that is Hygge.
Basically, Hygge is about appreciating what you have, enjoying the company of those around you, and embracing each moment with open arms. By practicing hygge, you are really trying to relax, reduce stress, and care for yourself. Hygge can be done with others, but for self-care purposes, think of ways to make this work for you as a way to spend more time on your own mental and emotional wellness.
You should consider this as you move forward with this information, learning where hygge come from and the many ways it can benefit you.
2. Where Did Hygge Come From?
Although the word Hygge originated in the Norwegian language, the term spread to Denmark around the 18th century and took root there, making it the Hygge capital over time.
Due to Denmark’s long and harsh winters and a lack of resources in the country, the Danish needed a way to overcome these obstacles. With Hygge, they were able to find comfort in the smallest things in life in order to remain happy during the darker times.
Because of the need to stay indoors for months at a time, Hygge was extremely centered around the feeling of coziness and spending time with the ones you love, especially while you are all consuming warm comfort food.
Hygge recently became a popular thing in American culture in 2016 and the meaning of Hygge has become varied due to everyone’s different interpretation of the word and the lifestyle. However, Hygge is most often the definition that was have mentioned.
Regardless of where it came from or how it started, you can start using it today in the modern world to benefit your emotional health. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to self-care.
3. Benefits of Hygge
There are several benefits of embracing Hygge as a way of life. This allows you to understand why you should try practicing hygge as part of your self-care routine. The following benefits show the wide range of advantages of getting more involved with hygge, especially incorporating it into your life on a regular basis. Here is a look at some of the top benefits:
Becoming More Mindful
When you practice Hygge, you are always on the lookout for those random moments of pure joy. For some, these moments come in the least expected ways. After all, Hygge can be experienced even if you are just taking time to tackle some house chores while you are listening to your favorite music.
That being said, those who keep their eye out for pleasurable moments are also cultivating mindfulness in their everyday lives. Why this is important? Well, the type of health benefits that come from mindful living include decreased stress, fewer depressive symptoms, and increased self-awareness. These are only a few of the benefits of mindfulness and there are plenty more where that came from.
What is better than feeling happier in your life and being able to experience less stress?
Learning How to Care for Yourself
Hygge is, in and of itself, self-care. Through Hygge, you develop your own self-care system as you figure out what is most important to you in life, how you can achieve those self-care goals, and how you can get more of what you are currently lacking. There’s a reason why Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world and that is because its people know how slow down and enjoy life in all of its glory.
Discovering Happiness in Solitude
As was stated in the origin section of this article, Hygge once placed and continues to place heavy emphasis on finding happiness and coziness through moments shared with others. However, as Hygge continues to spread, people are learning how to experience Hygge during moments where they are all by themselves.
For those of you who have issues being on your own, this can be an extremely helpful opportunity. Hygge helps you realize that you do not need to be surrounded by a large number of things or people to be happy. Although these things can be enjoyable, a beautiful moment experienced on your own can be just as powerful. You may even be experiencing Hygge while you are reading this article!
Realizing That Less Is More
Believing that you will be happier as you acquire more material possessions is a common misconception. Happiness doesn’t come from things. Happiness comes from within. When you embrace Hygge, you begin to realize that you can find happiness with exactly what you have right now.
While Hygge focuses on this, that doesn’t mean that you should shame yourself if you find that you do want to purchase something. If it brings you joy and you are going to share many fond memories with it, you most likely will be experiencing Hygge when you are using it later on.
Observing and Changing Areas in Which You Are Not Happy
When you’re always searching for joy and finding ways to obtain it, it becomes very clear which areas of your life are making you unhappy. For example, through Hygge, you may discover that your home life is absolutely amazing but that your work environment is lacking in joy and comfort.
From there, you can act on your observations. You may want to decorate your office area in things that make you happy or decide to socialize with your co-workers to form positive relationships. Hygge isn’t just about enjoying moments as they come, it is about cultivating moments as well. Use these observations as opportunities to cultivate joy in your life and improve areas that may not be adding to your happiness.
4. How Can I Incorporate Hygge Into My Life?
There are no special steps or guidelines that people need to take in order to incorporate Hygge into their lives. All you have to do to practice and experience Hygge is to look out for and to pursue pleasurable moments. Remember, these moments do not always have to be spectacular in order to be enjoyable. Pleasure and coziness can be found in even the most mundane of moments.
For those of you reading this who may still be struggling with this concept, here are some popular ways in which you can make Hygge a part of your life:
Create a Cozy Place for Hygge
Create a cozy place where you can do simple things such as enjoy a cup of coffee, read, or watch a sunset. This place can be as luxurious or as simple as you want. It is completely up to you! Some people recommend that you decorate these nooks with soft blankets and other soft furniture to make the areas feel even more cozy and comfortable. You may also want to station this area close to a window where you will be able to look outside and enjoy the world.
Don’t Always do it Alone
Invite your closest friends and family over to your home to enjoy a nice, homemade dinner. Comfort foods such as baked goods are especially great for this occasion. Nothing is better than enjoying an amazing meal with the people that you love. This is what Hygge is all about after all!
You can better experience Hygge when you have an attitude of gratitude. Every day, you can write down 3-10 things that you are grateful for in your life. As you become more mindful of the things you are grateful for, you become more aware of the small, joyful moments every day. You’ll also be able to identify the good in the worst of situations. Try it out and see what difference it makes in your life.
Find a Hobby You Enjoy
Seek out a new hobby that makes you feel happy. There are so many hobbies out there and you are bound to find one you enjoy. Some examples of hobbies may include knitting, singing, writing, cooking gardening, and photography. Whatever it is that you choose to do, make sure that you feel Hygge every time you start doing your hobby.
Make New Friends
Build new relationships by going out to public places where you will find people who share common interests. Hygge places a great amount of emphasis on togetherness. This doesn’t mean that you have to make friends to do this. Simply being in the company of other people is more than enough.
Make Free Time for Yourself
Enjoy some free time where you can lounge around and do things that you enjoy. Small comforts make a big difference when practicing Hygge. If you are able to do so, take a break from your busy schedule to cuddle up, grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch a good movie. Remember, this is only a suggestion. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable and happy is what you should engage in.
Start a New Morning Routine
Create a morning, afternoon, or evening ritual. These rituals could be a time where you do something simple like brewing a cup of tea, meditating, and taking time to practice your spirituality or religion. These rituals will really help you to get into a mindful, joyful mood.
5. Choosing Products to Help with Hygge
Now that you know what hygge is and how it can benefit you, let’s discuss how to make a cozier environment. You will read that hygge is not about buying a lot of new products, and that is true. But there are some instances where this is a good idea, and can actually improve your experience.
While hygge is about creating a cozy place in your home, there may come times when you want to buy certain products to help you achieve this. While it should not be about spending a lot of money on items just to achieve hygge, there are some things that can help create a quiet oasis in your own home.
This might include a new book to read, cozy blanket, brand new flavor of tea, or perhaps a CD of quiet music. Don’t worry about spending a little money here or there to get items to help you find hygge, but you shouldn’t rely on these things.
Try to find comfort and joy in your everyday life, not stressing to much about how you accomplish it. This is a learning experience just like anything else. The important thing is that you are continuing to try hygge as a way to practice self-care.