I have just recently learned of the Danish word, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Simply defined, it means coziness.
For those of you like me that have not heard of this word, it refers to a Danish concept that helps the Danes get through the long, dark winter. (Actually, in Denmark, they indulge in this concept all year round; but in my mind, it is most needed in winter.) It means creating a warm atmosphere; enjoying the good things in life; spending time with loved ones.
Some say the Danes are the happiest people in the world – maybe hygge explains why.
(As an aside, for those Norwegians reading this, hygge actually comes from a Norwegian word meaning well-being. The Danes adopted the concept in the 18th century. Since my heritage is at least half Danish, I choose to embrace the word as the Danes do.)
It seems those of us living in the colder climates could benefit from hygge. Minnesota winters are not unlike Denmark’s winters with their cold and dark days and nights. Maybe that is one of the reasons my grandparents decided to land here when they immigrated – the climate was familiar. (Another side story – when my grandparents, Jens and Agnes, came to America in 1910, they traveled with their 6 month old baby, my dad. I imagine that was quite the journey for a very young couple with a baby.)
But, I digress from my topic today – hygge. Though I was fortunate enough and very grateful to have spent a week in January on Grand Cayman basking in the sunshine and warmth of the island, now that I have been back home for a couple of weeks, it seems I have fallen prey to the lethargy of dark, cold days causing me to be unmotivated to do anything productive, and feeling rather blue. I feel like a slug (actually the word is sluggard)!
So, I am choosing to embrace hygge and taking steps to overcome my funk. Spring is just around the corner, meaning longer and warmer days, and the opportunity to get outside more; so, I don’t have much longer to endure the effects of winter.
Meanwhile, here are some techniques I have been utilizing which seem to fit in with the concept of hygge…creating warmth and coziness…to help me enjoy what is left of winter.
- I light a candle or candles, as I work in my kitchen preparing dinner. The Danes apparently use lots of candles in the winter to create hygge.
- I snuggle under an afghan as I watch sappy Hallmark movies with RC on TV.
- I try to include comfort food every now and then in my menu planning – last night we had a yummy chicken/sweet potato stew which I made for the first time.
- I enjoy my morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea in a favorite mug.
- I curl up with a good book and read in the middle of the day. I am grateful for retirement and the opportunity to do this.
- I open the blinds in the rooms of my home early in the day and let the light stream in.
- I try to get outside mid-day to enjoy real daylight.
- I treat myself to a creative excursion/fieldtrip occasionally – doing something just for fun or inspiration.
I do think the Danes are on to something. I like the idea of hygge and since I am a Dane it seems I can own the concept.
I invite you to join me. What do you do to create coziness?