As a senior who chose to spend my last year of college taking classes at home, I’ve found myself continuously itching for a change in scenery. Alas, there aren’t many options besides changing up my immediate surroundings. I’ve purchased a new duvet cover, and even hung up some canvases I had up in my own apartment. But then I stumbled upon a book I bought a few years ago, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Hygge (“hooga”), a Danish word, cannot be translated to English, as it’s synonymous to a feeling or an atmosphere.
Denmark is known as one of the top three happiest countries in the world. The secret to their success is hygge, a cultural phenomenon where Danes emphasize comfort and intentional togetherness. The feeling is similar to what we feel while wearing a big comfy sweater with a warm cup of coffee in our hands during fall. The Danish dedicate their entire daily routines to hygge, so it’s no wonder they’re so happy (along with having free healthcare and college). Here are some ways to change your environment and your approach to each day to make your life a little more hygge:
1. Soft Lighting
Candles. Candles. And more candles. Each Dane burns through 13 pounds of candle wax per year, and 28% light candles every single day. The type of candle doesn’t matter, just whatever you prefer. I recommend some plain white votive candles, or these flameless candles. String lights are also a great addition to any space, and act the same as candles for bringing that hygge feeling. These fairy lights are the best to hang up everywhere in your room!
2. Be Present
Our world is almost entirely virtual right now. We wake up to get on Zoom. We spend our time with friends via FaceTime. We bury ourselves in our Instagram feeds to feel some connection to others. But, that comes at a cost. We lose touch with the senses of livelihood that we were once privy to knowing. So, taking time for ourselves and disconnecting are paramount. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb and do an at-home facial with whatever materials you have. Or try a guided meditation on Spotify. Do whatever it takes to reacquaint yourself with yourself, without distractions.
3. Comfort Food
Think of food you’d eat during fall. Soups, breads, meat and potatoes… something home-cooked! The process of making something delicious and enjoying it after is such a warm experience. Try this super easy focaccia recipe!
Coffee and tea are also essential parts of hygge. Grab yourself some coffee and a warm blanket, and watch a movie!
4. Comfy Clothes
Can you really enjoy your delicious hygge meal with high-waisted jeans that are begging to be unbuttoned? No. Grab yourself some big and comfortable sweaters, and some soft sweats. Wear whatever suits your fancy.
Slowly but surely, I’ve incorporated what I can into my daily life and atmosphere to have my own hygge. When I’m feeling alone in my room between classes, I like to light my candles and turn on my fairy lights, and connect with myself. Take some time to be more intentional and hygge