Give yourself a Hygge
Everyone’s getting hygge this year. Pronounced hoo-gah, the Danish word hygge roughly translates to ‘cosiness’ and is a concept that the Danes embrace (with gusto) to get them through the long, dark months (of which there are six in Scandinavia – can you imagine?!). When we stayed with friends in northern Sweden one New Year, the Muddies built igloos in a pitch black garden at 3 in the afternoon – bizarre. From fluffy blankets and socks to candlelight and rich hot chocolate, the Danes are experts at cosy-ing up – so, here’s how to add a little hygge to your life:
1. Embrace the outdoors
Sod the gym – get on your bike, go for a walk or sit on a deserted beach looking out to the horizon; fresh air puts colour in your cheeks and boosts your circulation. Then head indoors to cosy up by an open fire.
2. Enjoy a meal with family and friends
Meals around the table with family are very hygge – Danes getting together to enjoy a roast or supper at least once a week.
3. Drink coffee
Danes drink a lot of coffee but – unlike us – they don’t grab a cup on the run but take time out of their day to sit with friends and enjoy each cup, often with some cinnamon buns or pastries.
4. Eat without the side of guilt
Hygge is all about eating what you want to eat, when you want to eat it – whether that’s sticky buns, fresh bread and homemade jams or fish and chips. Big bowls of porridge, steaming mugs of hot chocolate and mulled wine are all very hygge – you’ll work it all off on your bike ride or walk tomorrow.
5. Sing for your spirits
The Danes drink a spirit that’s a bit like gin and sing a song together before knocking it back. Called aquavit, downing this gut-boosting spirit without a song is a bit like serving a roast dinner without gravy.
6. Cosy up
Make your home as cosy as possible with candlelight, fairy lights, open fires, and fluffy blankets and rugs and hunker down when the wind bites.
7. Read a book
When was the last time you lost yourself in a good book or read an entire paper? Hygge is all about taking time to enjoy the simple things in life (a bit of Carpenters on the turntable does it for me!).
8. Turn it over
Be in the moment by putting your phone face down and out of reach.
9. Grab a loved one
Whether it’s your child, dog, cat or partner, hygge is best enjoyed in the company of someone you love.
10. Dress for the (non)occasion
Oversized jumpers that feel like you’re being hugged, fluffy slippers, thick socks and warm pyjamas are essential.