The Art of Hygge

I’m not sure if I’m the last one to hear about hygge, but I LOVE it. Hygge (pronounced: hue-guh) is a Danish concept defined as ““a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Although it doesn’t have a direct English translation, some have described hygge as “the art of creating intimacy” and the term is often associated with contentment, coziness, security, and familiarity. When an article about hygge popped up on my Facebook feed, I found myself asking “where has this been all my life?”. As temperatures drop and escaping the South Bend cold (and the Notre Dame stress) becomes increasingly challenging, adding a little “hygge” to your life is probably exactly what you need!

Here are some fun (DORM-FRIENDLY) ways to add a little hygge to the Indiana winter:
  •  Hot Drinks: Be it dining hall coffee, a Keurig chai latte, some tea from ABP, or a holiday drink from Starbucks, nothing makes the cold walks to class snugglier than sipping on (and holding) a warm cup of YUM!
  • Baked Goods: For me, “hygge” invites images of the holiday season, which makes my mouth water because of all the delicious food!! Although baking muffins or cake isn’t very convenient in the dorm setting, I’ve been using these Duncan Hines “Perfect Size for 1” muffin mixes for a quick warm treat. You can make them in a mug in the microwave in less than 90 seconds!
  • Cozy Socks and Slippers: After a long day of class, slipping into a nice, fuzzy pair of socks feels incredible. I’ve also taken to wearing little moccasin slippers when I shuffle around my dorm.
  • Diffuse Essential Oils: When I was researching hygge, everyone kept suggesting candles. Unfortunately, under du Lac, candles in the dorms are strictly prohibited. Whether that’s because some buildings are old and could burn to the ground in minutes, or because Notre Dame doesn’t support hygge, remains to be seen. But the point is, the code of conduct has put a damper on any embodiment of hygge that involves indoor flame. Although I usually just use my diffuser for lavender oil to help me sleep, the right blend of essential oils can bring a little hygge spirit to your dorm room in a du Lac-conforming way. Try these yummy essential oil blends to get your hygge on without getting written up! Let’s say you’re really looking for a flame element to your hygge practice. Head down to the Grotto and light a candle. If prayer is your thing, this can be an act of spiritual intimacy for you. If not, the Grotto can be a beautiful space for some introspection and, in the winter, the candlelight dancing on the snow is absolutely striking.
  • Soft Blankets: A microplush blanket is really an all-seasons necessity, but as the air temperatures plummet, the need for a soft blanket rises exponentially. Concept: curled up in bed, wrapped in a blanket, with a nice latte. Enough said.
  • Call or Write a Loved One: Communication with loved ones makes everything so much better! Just a quick chat with my mom on my way to class brightens my day and can lessen any worry I may have.
  • Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones: Similarly, a movie night or a nice, brisk walk around the lakes with some friends can add an element of closeness to your day. Disconnect from your phone and just be there with the people that you care about.

These are just some of my suggestions on embracing the art of hygge, but any act that creates a cozy contentment qualifies! Winter in South Bend can be frigid and gray, so try adding a little bit of hygge to cope with the finals blues, plummeting temperatures, and the Permacloud. Denmark is farther north than Notre Dame, so the Danes definitely know a thing or two about winter and coping with the cold.

Images provided by author.

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