In Denmark, they use the word hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) to describe a cosy and comfortable feeling. It’s thought that the word originated from the root “hug,” or an embrace to comfort. The Danes use it to refer to a form of everyday togetherness; a highly valued experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness, and spontaneous social spark.
A popular idea of hygge is coming indoors from the cold, especially after a busy day or school or work. The sudden warmth of a cafe or a kitchen at home can make us realize that we need to warm up. Often the first thing we do is prepare something warm to eat or drink. A hot drink, perhaps with a piece of toast and a favourite jam, warms and refreshes the spirit.
It’s nice to change from street clothes into something comfortable such as comfortable sweater and thick socks. Put your feet up and savour the moment. Soon, a relaxed feeling will become stronger with the warmth returning to your toes.
To create moments of hygge, it’s all about set and setting and expectations. When we’re alone, it’s easy because we know our favourite things and the best chair or sofa seat to curl up in. A favourite playlist or show can put us in the mood for – more hygge! You may discover that hygge is sort of contagious; one person will feel the vibe and others will join in until everyone is have a good time.
When company calls, invite them to join the mood by offering a hot drink or something to eat so they feel welcome. Hygge is about sharing good feelings but also the abundance we create in our lives with those we cherish most. Hygge moments are about gathering and nurturing friendship so encourage others to let go of their cares and feel relaxed.
Hygge can happen inside or outside and during any season, not just during cold weather. A family picnic in the summer, long walks in the autumn among the changing leaves, or during a heavy snowfall can generate those special feelings of contentment. When we are relaxed and in a peaceful setting, it seems that the good things become something more than the sum of their parts.
To create an environment of sanctuary and comfort, take stock of the things in your home that make you feel good. In the winter, hygge goes into high gear with lots of gatherings at work, in the homes of friends, and hosting parties of your own. Cold, dark, and windy winters encourage indoor gathering and warm drinks. Brighten your space with lots of coloured lights and fresh scents.
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