Updated: Nov 4, 2018
For those of us who live in colder climates, but yet not in Denmark, the term "hygge" (pronounced "hue-guh") seems like something magical, yet just a bit elusive. I want to try to unpack this a little so that we can try to capture the spirit as we move into cooler seasons.
Let's start with what hygge actually means. There's not really a direct translation to English, so to speak, but It's been described to me by a Dane as "the feeling of well-being and no pressure...no formal restrictions, no time pressure and just enjoying the moment." I can absolutely get behind that - what about you? Let's run through some of the ways we can infuse a little of this Danish magic into our lives.
Appreciate Where You Are
One very significant aspect of the hygge-concept is to be content with where you are at. Simply put: your mind is present and there's nowhere else you would rather be. Don't think of this as an environment that has to be perfectly styled or Instagram-worthy, because it doesn't. So worry about folding the clothes later. Just simply be "here", wherever you are, and be grateful for what it is.
Cosy Up with Hand-Knits
This one should be very easy for most of us makers. Whether this means you're dusting off the over-sized sweaters, or you're knitting your own, this is the moment to find yourself comfy and warm. I personally believe that there is a bit of a mindset shift when you go from a cold atmosphere and into comfy clothes. There are no thoughts towards how you look (have you noticed I keep emphasizing that it's not about how anything looks?), just how you feel.
Make Your Favorite Foods
In today's world, we can become increasingly obsessed with how we eat. And I mean obsessed. It's calories, or it's carbs, or it's sugar, or it's gluten, and frankly, it's exhausting. I'm not saying abandon all ideas of health, but give yourself some grace and allow yourself to have foods that are nostalgic, delicious, and put you in a better mood. And don't you dare allow yourself to feel guilty afterwards!
Incorporate Natural Elements
When I learned about this part of hygge, I immediately realized how brilliant it is - the act of bringing in certain natural elements into the home to create cosiness. I don't know about you, but I feel absolutely at home surrounded by plants (whether or not I can personally keep them alive is a story for another day). And the natural aspects don't have to be limited to living plants - you can add sheepskin rugs, birch branches, or find a way to draw more natural light into your space. Just any way to bring a little bit of the outdoors within to add depth to the atmosphere will cause a positive effect.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
I realize that this probably sounds cliche, but it's absolutely worth acknowledging. We are all busy and find ourselves buzzing about without taking pause to be with our friends and family. American culture is very "go go go", and we hardly have a minute to ourselves to simply breathe. But community is essential. It's the connection we have to each other that brings meaning to our lives and can bring so much joy. It's not something we can just put to the side and leave it until we have more time. Time is finite, and you only have so much in this world. Spend what you can with who you love.
Allow Yourself to Relax
This seems like it should be the easiest to do, but for me, it's the hardest. Let me describe a scenario for you. You're at home, in clothes that probably are not fit to be seen in society, and the doorbell rings. It's a friend, or a neighbor, and they've just dropped by to chat. The house is a mess, the dishes haven't been done in a couple of days, and you haven't even considered makeup as an option. The reality is that your guest likely doesn't care, and you shouldn't either. It's not about the appearance, it's about the quality time. Do you think you're capable of not apologizing for the state of your home or yourself when you hear the knock at the door?
One thing I've been planning for are those months following the holidays (January through March) that are effectively bleak and dreary. I've already been thinking of how we will handle the lack of sunlight and not as many gatherings with friends. I've got a plan for you too. For these months, I'm going to be offering a 3-month subscription of Hygge Boxes. Each box will have a skein of yarn (to make yourself something cosy, of course) and a few other items to add some more hygge to your world. These are available for pre-sale now and you can get yours by clicking here.
Overall, your time is yours to do with what you will. Winter is a great opportunity to slow down and assess what is most important to us, and what makes us happy. And maybe, just maybe, a little extra hygge will help push us in the right direction.