How Do YOU Hygge?
If we can’t hibernate…then let’s hygge. [hoo-gah]
The Absence of Hygge Truly Makes us Appreciate That Which is Hygge.
Let’s break this down.
If you live in a cold climate like I do (hello, Minnesota), you’ve probably got a complicated relationship with winter.
It’s likely not your favorite season – I mean, there’s stiff competition when we’ve got three other perfectly lovely seasons to choose from (I mean USUALLY it doesn’t blizzard in the spring, and fall is USUALLY slightly longer than the blink of an eye. Usually.)
Perhaps you even despise the winter, but you’re just not ready to fully transition your life to the southern half of the country.
So you continue to stay here because well, you just goshdarn love the four seasons.
You tell yourself that people who live in endless summer aren’t happier because they are bathed in eternal sun – they are sadder because they don’t get to experience the joys of spring and fall (oh, how we love our fall).
And when it’s minus 14 degrees outside and you’re silently cursing your ancestors for planting your family here and drawing up plans for an indoor doggie restroom so you no longer have to stand in the cold five times a day while Fido hems and haws over that perfect spot…
…you also have this tender soft spot in your heart for the whole craziness of living here.
Are We Nuts?
Yes, people from warmer climates think we are nuts:
“Do you actually go outside when it’s below freezing?” is a legitimate question I have been asked.
Now, I’m all for the concept of hibernation, but unfortunately that would conflict with the whole keeping your job thing (but not if we’re all on the same page #foodforthought) –
and also increase the chances of cardiac arrest (bears are lucky and don’t have this problem #humanproblems).
So I guess that’s not going to work.
But despite all the flaws of winter, some of us just can’t seem to pack up and leave it all behind.
There’s a sense of pride in living here.
There’s something that so deeply connects us to this place we call home.
So we stay.
We stay and we begin to learn the ways to make it through.
But if we can’t hibernate, what CAN we do?
What the Heck is Hygge?
I’m so glad you asked because it’s a concept I am pretty obsessed with.
If you’ve lived in a cold climate for any length of time, it’s a concept you’ve definitely come into contact with – you likely just didn’t know it.
You might have felt that passing flutter of warmth in your heart, but couldn’t quite put your finger on it, didn’t exactly have the language to capture the moment.
If you’ve ever visited a cold climate over the holidays and experienced an extra special sense of something-ness, you’ve likely experienced hygge, too.
And with its focus on staying in versus going out, small groups, and genuine connection – introverts rejoice: this one’s especially made for you!
The Heart of Hygge
Hygge experts agree, hygge is less of an easily definable concept and more of a feeling, perhaps even an emotion.
To take an excerpt 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 the presence of soothing things,’ ‘cozy togetherness,’ and my personal favorite, ‘cocoa by candlelight.’” -Meik Wiking
In cold climates, we naturally seek out hygge as a way to bring comfort and warmth to our bodies and hearts.
It’s precisely the fact that our cold and harsh winter weather lacks any natural sense of hygge that we are so drawn to the concept.
The ability to enjoy hygge is exponentially multiplied by an existing lack of hygge – we are PRIME subjects for a full on cultural hygge embrace.
Midwesterners have had a stoic reputation for far too long – deprivation is not hygge at all, it’s about being kind to yourself, even treating yourself!
This is the stuff that’s good for the soul.
Denmark has this concept down pat. Now it’s time for us Midwesterners to step it up and get hygge with it.
Say it with me: hoo-gah. Now, go practice it.
Get Your Cozy On
5 Ways to Be More Hygge Right Now!
1. Go put on a big warm sweater or thick cozy socks. Being cold is the quickest way to kill a hygge vibe.
2. Light a candle! Wiking says that 85% of Danes associate candles with hygge.
3. Make yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Use an actual ceramic mug without a top so you can wrap your hands around the warmth and watch the steam spirals evaporate off the top.
4. Take a break! If you’re working, take a 10-minute hygge break. Hygge is more than an outward sense of coziness, it’s also a feeling we get inside: it’s presence – so no phones or computers during your hygge break! It’s comfort – find a big cozy blanket if you work from home, or turn down those harsh office lights and close your eyes for a few minutes. And it’s gratitude – take a deep breath and think of something you’re really grateful for.
5. Call a friend. Hygge is also about togetherness – but in a quality over quantity kind of way. We’re so connected in this day and age, yet still feel this distinct ache for human connection. Call up an old friend and reminisce over a shared memory. Laugh! Remember that it’s not about likes, it’s about LOVE.