Hyyge (pronounced HOO-GA) is a word that I’d never heard nor uttered until just a few weeks ago when I was gifted The Little Book of Hygge by a friend for my birthday. While I had no idea what hygge was at the time, I was intrigued by the book’s cover, which claims that this term is tied to “Danish secrets to happy living.”
I’ve read articles over the years about Denmark often being named one of the happiest countries in the world. I was delighted to learn that whatever this hygge word is, it may have something to do with the reasons Danes are such happy folks. I couldn’t wait to read more!
In short, and I’m quoting from the book, “hygge loosely translates as a sense of comfort, togetherness and well-being. You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends.”
I decided that it would be fun to add some hygge into my world, so over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to incorporate these “Danish secrets” into my everyday life to see if it would have a positive impact. Here are a few takeaways from the book that I tried, along with a personal rating of whether these tactics made me feel an overall sense of comfort, togetherness or positive well-being.
After reading that candles are huge for hygge, I found a candle making class at a local wine shop. I swiftly decided my roommate and I should sign up, as we’ve been talking about making our own candles for about two years. The class was a success, and we each came home with a candle all our own that we’ve now been lighting most evenings.
Hygge rating: 8/10
One trick to increase your personal hygge is to up the plants and nature you surround yourself with. Thanks to a very generous gift from our client Benary to everyone on the BatesMeron team, we were all given a care package full or new varieties of beautiful Benary plants. Not having a very green thumb—and also not having anywhere to plant these outdoors—I was a little worried that I would kill these plants within a matter of days, but two weeks in they’re still going strong! I’ve rather enjoyed having them around, but I find that I often forget they’re there.
Hygge rating: 6/10
Warm drinks (and tea especially) is hugely popular in Denmark, perhaps for its hygge factor. I used to be a regular tea drinker, but I seem to have gotten out of the habit over the last couple of years. Seeing that this could increase the hygge in my life, I decided to bring tea back while spending some alone time working on personal projects (pictured: a customized Jenga game in-progress).
Hygge rating: 9/10
A few years ago, a good friend and I started a weekly girls cooking night where we take turns hosting a small group of friends in our apartments for an evening of food, wine and socialization. Reading that cooking together and sharing responsibilities in the kitchen can be a way to promote hygge, I decided to reach out to some friends to get a dinner night going again. Cooking together has definitely made the process more fun, although I still find cooking to be a little stressful, which is what knocked down the hygge factor just a tad for me.
Hygge rating: 8/10
Eating healthy and practicing hygge don’t always go hand-in-hand. Danes currently come in second for worldwide candy consumption, and the reason why may come down to hygge. It is apparently known that when you want to feel cozy, you indulge in sweet treats. I recently treated myself to some tiny pastries (pasticcini) from Eataly, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! Did they make me feel a sense of comfort? Why yes, yes they did.
Hygge rating: 9/10
This question has a couple different answers. Hygge is all about happiness and overall I don’t believe that trying these specific hygge tactics made me a happier person in the long run. I would probably need to try this little experiment for more than two weeks to really get a better sense.
I can say that in the moments I tried each of these things, I did in fact feel happy. So, for me, hygge was more about increasing the little moments of happiness in each day, rather than increasing my overall well-being. Will I keep some of these things up? You betcha.
Have you embraced hygge in your life? What was your experience? Drop us a note in the comments or on our Facebook page and tell us about it.