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“Hygge”: The Danish Lifestyle Practice That Cures the Winter Blues

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

As the colder weather rolls in, everyone has their own way of fending off the impending seasonal slump. A few years ago, as I was sitting in a recital hall with 100 of my closest acquaintances listening to a music history lecture, I was introduced to the term “hygge.” This is a Danish concept defined by Google as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” The hygge lifestyle encompasses all of the blanket-wrapped, hot chocolate-sipping, cinnamon scented candle-burning wintertime goals we all dream about. While this picturesque scene is not always the most achievable amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, hygge is all about how you can incorporate those warm, cozy feelings throughout your life. 

I’ll begin with a practical example inspired by the story that introduced me to this term in the first place, that freshman-year music history lecture. My professor had assigned us a listening activity that required us to listen to a music stream on Minnesota Public Radio’s yourclassical.org and write about the pieces that we heard. If you’re unfamiliar, according to their website, YourClassical is “a collection of curated streams, unique programs and relevant features to connect classical listeners with the music they love.” As I was scrolling through their curated streams looking to choose one for the assignment, I stumbled upon one titled “Hygge.”  It was filled with the coziest classical pieces that would be right at home being played on a record player set beside a fireplace. While this certain stream isn’t on the website these many years later, I am still striving to live by hygge. One of the ways in which I do this is by playing playlists or streams just like the one that started it all. Whether it be through YourClassical, YouTube coffeeshop jazz ambiance videos (like this one by “Calmed By Nature”) or simply my own Spotify playlists, music is a powerful tool. No matter if you’re romanticizing your at-home chores or your walk to class on a bone-chilling January morning, the tunes feel like a warm hug. 

There aren’t any strict rules on “how to hygge.” Whatever helps you slow down and appreciate yourself and those who make you the happiest. Some of my favorite practices that encapsulate hygge are treating myself to an at-home spa night, cooking my favorite meal for myself and my girlfriend while sipping a glass of wine, brewing a warm cup of tea before bed in my comfiest clothes or even simply switching out an overhead light with something warm and subtle like a candle or some string lights. Of course, as someone who has never truly lived in a society that understands and emphasizes the importance of hygge like Denmark, I’m never going to be the perfect source to tell you how you should utilize this motto. But as long as you prioritize a sense of self-love through patience and pampering, whatever that might look like for you, that’s hygge. 

Sonny Crull

Illinois State '23

Hi! My name is Sonny Crull, I am a Senior at Illinois State, and I'm majoring in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Music! As a writer, I aim to use my voice and platform through Her Campus to share fun, engaging, and relatable content.