“Hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy,’ ‘coziness of the soul,’ and the ‘absence of annoyance,’ to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,’ ‘cozy togetherness,’ and… ‘cocoa by candlelight’.”
The Little Book of Hygge is pretty hygge itself (yes, I’m aware it’s a noun – consider it a stylistic choice). The pages are filled with warm, muted, faded shades of orange and blue. It’s an easy, cozy read – something to curl up with at the end of the day, something positive that doesn’t require too much energy, something that embodies how to hygge.
How to Hygge
Hygge is mostly a lifestyle. It’s about all the little things, things that are often taken for granted, things that we don’t notice until they’re missing. We often get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to stop and enjoy life. To stop and enjoy the very thing we’re working so hard to attain – a good life.
The book goes over six aspects of hygge: light, togetherness, food & drink, clothing, home, outside.
Hygge is about warm lighting. Light is a huge component of creating coziness, a feeling of warmth and safety. Candles add a nice touch, but they’re not always the most convenient. We don’t always get a winter in LA, so lighting a fireplace after a brilliant, sweltering day doesn’t make sense. If candles and fireplaces aren’t for you (be it climate or environmental concerns), lamps and warmer light bulbs are key.
Hygge is about being together, the depth of relationships rather than the breadth. Especially in this day and age, it is easy to have thousands of “friends” on social media. But how many of them do we really know well? How many of them would we feel comfortable reaching out to for help? I’ve been working on getting to know people around me; in the past, I would withdraw into my little introvert shell and have a lot of superficial friendships. But life is so much richer and more meaningful when you share hopes, dreams, fears, and adventures with people. Try having small get-togethers instead of large parties; it will give you more time to get to know each individual person.
Food & Drink
Hygge is comfort food and warm drinks – pastries and soups and coffees and cocoas. How can we talk about coziness and deepening relationships without talking about food and drink? I can’t drink alcohol, but so many of my bonds with people have been strengthened over happy hour. Nothing binds people like sharing food (we can debate life-threatening situations another time). Think of grandmas cooking with their grandkids. Personally, I enjoy baking for people, but if cooking is not your forté, sharing a meal together at a restaurant will work just fine.
Hygge is about casual and comfortable. Warm layers like sweaters, scarves, and socks. But what is comfortable and casual to one might not be comfortable to another. I very much enjoy wearing a blazer with jeans; it’s not comfortable or casual by hygge standards but it’s comfortable to me. It gives me confidence to go out and do things I might normally not do.
Hygge is about creating comfortable spaces. Anything that invites and encourages someone to sit, touch, enjoy, and basically live in that space. A nook to hide in, nostalgic knickknacks, blanket forts.
I prefer clean, empty space (probably because I grew up with a lot of rather useless things), so my hygge living spaces will be confined to certain corners of rooms. I’m also not a big fan of rustic décor, so besides furniture, I don’t plan to use any wood elements.
Hygge is about nature. Taking a walk in the park, going hiking, spending a day at the beach. (This makes me want to go bike riding, which I really need to do regularly.) You can do it alone, or with someone to foster togetherness. And as you can see in the picture above, they bring nature into the home as well, for days when you can’t make it outside.
I like it. I love the idea of slowing down; some days I feel like I’m not ambitious enough for business school. And all these tips and ideas are very cost-effective; there’s no need to buy designer furniture or expensive clothing. In fact, doing so is the opposite of hygge.
I would definitely recommend reading The Little Book of Hygge. When you get overwhelmed or frustrated with work, it’s good to have a reminder of what’s important, that ultimately, everything is going to be okay, that life is made to be enjoyed.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
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How do you hygge?