What is Hygge and How Can it Help Me With Finals?

Tis the season for...finals? Yup, it’s that time of year again and we are ALL struggling in one way or another. You’re so close, yet so far, from winter break and no matter how much you study, nothing seems to really stick. You’re staying up all night barely sleeping and living off of box mac and cheese. That final paper you have to write? You haven’t even started. Whether you want to admit it or not, we’ve all been here and quite frankly, it sucks. While it would be completely hypocritical of me to offer studying advice, I’m going to offer you lifestyle advice from a hygge enthusiast like myself.

Now you’re probably wondering, what IS hygge? Hygge is a Danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment. It can be alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary, but it is always cozy, charming, or special. If you’ve seen this word around, it may have been used to promote some kind of wellness product or healthy lifestyle choices, but that’s all some major BS. Hygge itself is a feeling. It’s the idea of being mindful, slowing down and taking time for yourself and your surroundings.

I’ve always grown up in a very fast-paced lifestyle. I was born and raised an hour away from New York City and would find myself visiting at every chance I could get. My dad grew up in Queens, so there’s no doubt that being a city girl is in my DNA. Flash forward to college and you guessed it, I’m in Boston, another city. I find it so difficult to get out of my head and make space for mindfulness and well, hygge. Sometimes, I have to force myself to just make the time to really stop and look around and remember what I learned while I was in Denmark about the culture of hygge.

In the summer of 2015, I had the amazing opportunity of being a mother’s helper in Copenhagen. At just 15 years old, I traveled by myself across the Atlantic to embark on my greatest adventure. While there are so many lessons and stories Copenhagen gave me, one constant that has forever remained since I left is the feeling of hygge. While I will absolutely admit to breaking down on the flight home from seeing the NYC skyline all lit up, coming back to America was a rough transition. Everything suddenly became very fast and non-stop again. I couldn’t place why I was feeling so off until I learned about hygge and realized that is what I had experienced my entire time in Copenhagen. It’s no wonder Danes are the happiest people in the world, as the whole culture is centered around comfort and peace. During my six weeks there, I found myself both physically and mentally slowing down. I would journal after my adventures. I would take my time taking out change to pay for my tea. I’d stare a little longer at the Rosenborg Castle despite passing by it every day. I felt so much healthier and freer and undoubtedly, happier.

So, while I can’t exactly help with the stress you’re feeling about finals, I hope instead I can give you a new outlook to be conscious of while you’re cramming. Even if it’s just taking a hot shower, going for a walk, calling a family member, or making a cup of tea–remember taking time to be mindful and live in the moment every once in a while can be really beneficial to your health. Consider incorporating hygge into your daily routine so the next time finals roll around, you’ll be better equipped on how to handle your stresses and anxiety.


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