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Embracing ‘Hygge’ During Your College Years

College isn’t exactly a relaxing atmosphere.

From late-night cramming sessions for mid-terms, to messy day drinks that linger into night-time house parties, a lot of college experiences can leave you feeling on edge just thinking about them. But that doesn’t mean we have to rule out relaxation entirely — cue hygge.

Hygge is another one of those foreign words that doesn’t have an exact translation into English. As much of a word as it is a concept, hygge is rooted in Denmark. The Oxford Dictionary defines the Danish word as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”Hygge isn’t something you can buy or learn; it’s a feeling. Sitting by the fireplace on a rainy night wrapped in a fleece blanket with a good book and a cup of tea — that’s hygge. Hygge isn’t something you can force on yourself, it’s about being mindful of your comfort in the current moment.

That being said, bringing moments of hygge into your college lifestyle can act as a very rewarding freedom from studying, partying, working, or whatever it is that is wearing you down.

Hygge is a part of life within Danish culture. It was created to escape the dull moments of cold, dark days with a cup of tea or a home-cooked meal with friends. Simplicity is key to the significance of feeling hygge.

Obviously, hygge is different for everyone because everyone finds comfort in different things or acts, but common themes in hygge are candles, coffee, books, sweatpants, and warm, fuzzy blankets.

So, how can you embrace hygge on an overwhelming college campus? First off, you’re probably overthinking how difficult it can be to find time to relax.

One common mistake that college students are often repeating during their “relaxing” time is being on their phones. Scrolling through Instagram is so not hygge, either is watching Snapchat stories, constantly texting, or mindlessly clicking through apps. As much of a habit as having your hand glued to your phone can be, it’s time to put it down; it’ll still be there later and trust me, you’re not missing anything special.

Another misconception about relaxation is that it requires solitude. You can relax just as well with a friend or a group if that suits you.

A lot of people like having alone time with hygge, but the two don’t go hand-in-hand. Watching a movie or baking some sweets with friends is très hygge. Just make sure you’re actually watching the movie instead of looking up and noticing everyone’s on their phones.

While you can’t buy the feeling of hygge, you can surround yourself with items or places that make you feel it. Making your dorm room or apartment feel a bit cozier by putting up some string lights or tending to some plants. Skip out on studying in the library for a quaint coffee shop. Instead of staying out late, go to bed early with a good book. Even a cuddly pet can add to the hygge in your life.

So, next time you slip into a bed with freshly-cleaned sheets or inhale the fumes of a nicely scented candle and it makes you feel good, know that you’re taking part in a moment of hygge by feeling gratitude for the little things in life.

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Jill Webb

U Mass Amherst

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