Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish term that is based on the philosophy of embracing comfort, moving slowly, and appreciating the present. It comes from Denmark, known as the happiest country in the world. It’s not because of their government, or the weather, or other external factors — it is their mindset and way of living.
I recently read “The Little Book of Hygge” and it was incredibly inspiring. It details many ways to bring more hygge into your life, which is ultimately the key to happiness. There are many specific components to hygge, but I think it looks slightly different to everyone, and their own, personal viewpoint.
The book made me think deeply about not only my definition of comfort, but my personal relationship with comfort. In American culture, there is so much guilt and shame around comfort, as well as pleasure. There is such an overwork mentality — if you don’t have what you want, it’s because you’re not working hard enough. You have to work for happiness. You’re not allowed to be happy until you’ve put in the work. In Nordic culture, the perception is much more balanced. It’s not so much comfort itself, but allowing yourself to be comfortable.
I want to heal my relationship with food. I’d like to eat healthier without feeling like it is restriction or punishment. Food has always been a major source of stress in my life. I get very stressed about what I put into my body, I worry so much about how it affects my body — and in turn this stress ironically causes me to stress-eat.
I’d like to have more meals, and less snacks. Not that I will cut out snacks completely. But I tend to snack throughout the day instead of having full meals. I especially want to have more big breakfasts, because it’s my favorite (and they also say most important) meal of the day. I feel my best when I’ve eaten a full breakfast knowing it will keep me satisfied until lunch. I would like breakfast to be my biggest meal of the day.
I’ve already been doing this, but I’d like to focus even more on Whole Foods — not the market — but using whole milk, butter, unrefined oils etc. More fruit and vegetables (uncooked.) More real ingredients. More meal prepping ahead of time rather than premade packaged food.
I think food is the major component for me. As for clothing, I think I already dress comfortably. But more of that. And more layers, especially through the winter.
A great part of hygge is keeping your home cozy with dim lighting. I already do this, but again, more of that this year. More plants, more candles, and more dim lights.
And finally another factor of hygge is keeping a work-life balance. And I’m really going to emphasize that. That doesn’t mean slacking at work, or not taking your job seriously, etc. But I will never let my entire life revolve around work. I will never let one rough day, or one little accident, at work destroy me. I’m not checking emails or messages outside of work; in emergencies I can be reached by my phone.
Really just overall, I want to embrace coziness, peace, comfort, and living in the moment to ease anxiety and bring in more happiness.