Over the past few months, the world has been introduced to this new word Hygge (pronounced hue-gah). All the different sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are encouraging the Hygge way of living, but I wasn’t sure exactly what this meant. With a quick search on Pinterest, you can get the basic. This being that Hygge is made up with big knitted throws, fine hot chocolate, candles and a good book. All which sounds pretty good! But I kept thinking there must more to this, so I pop onto Amazon and order a book about what Hygge really is. I settled on ‘How to Hygge.’ by Signe Johansen.
So with my Pinterest advice, I sat down all curled up in candle light with a hot chocolate and immersed myself into the book. I soon discovered that Hygge is the aspiration to live a Nordic life as historically these countries are known for the good health and happy lives. Hygge is key to the Nordic sense of well-being. The word can be roughly translated as ‘cosiness’, it implies warmth, conviviality and community.
The term does mean everything which is on Pinterest but it also goes further into how to live your life. One of the key aspects is to get outside. The Nordic way of living revels itself with going for long walks in huge forests. It is not only is it good for your physical health but also your mental health. Research says that spending time outside helps you feel happier and can work towards relieving depression and anxiety. The book also recommends that any exercise should be outside rather than a gym, so how about trying to swap the treadmill for the country park up the road? You shouldn’t spend a tone of money going on these huge hikes across a great Nordic forest, (unless this is on your doorstep) buying all the gear and really having no idea.
Use what you have around you. We live not far from the seafront so we enjoy going out for long walks up the coast. The key is to be close with nature and as quoted from Johansen ‘Nature calm you and allows you to reflect on the very essence of what living is about.’
Hygge is also about the Nordic way of cooking and eating. One of the cornerstones of these countries is historically, they would spend their time outside forging for foods such as berries. In the modern world with busy working lives this isn’t always possible. But a balance could be achieved by going for walks and picking berries in your local woods, while still doing your weekly Tesco shop. But please do research what wild berries can be eaten before hand. The key to cooking is keeping it simple. A lot of fish and fresh veg is eaten, but who can’t say no to a Danish cake? Sweet cakes/treats is known as Fika and the Hygge life encourage people to bake their own. In the book, their are some great recipes to try out. However cakes should be balanced with wholesome healthy food. So sorry, Hygge isn’t about the consent eating of cake. Just save these for treats. But Fika is also about getting together socially and enjoying coffee and cake with your love ones. Its an opportunity to slow down in the busy world and put things on hold just for a short while.
Now onto my favourite part, how to Hygge at home. I love being at home and spending time in the four walls we have brought together, so was intrigued to see how this is done at home. One of the key messages is again, Keep it Simple. Hygge means to have a good balance between spending time outside but also spending time at home with your love ones. Nordic design is traditionally functional yet stylish, minimalist yet warm, focuses around natural materials, a mix of old and new and a good use of light. Its key to only have the things that bring your most joy in your home and avoiding lots of clutter, yet having enough to feel cosy. Nordic homes ensure they banish the carpet and have wood or tiled floors to ensure your home is fresh and clean. You could add a textured rug to the floor if only wood isn’t your cuppa tea.
Other key Hygge home must do’s is to get the lighting right. The book expresses that in the evening, have several smaller lights on that one big room light. As this creates a sense of calm and relaxing mood for your home. And with light comes candles! Candles are a big part of Hygge with again creating cosiness and warmth in dark winter months. They also say plants are key to a Hygge home as this is about bring the outside, indoor and the juxtaposition is one that has been used to great effect.
So after reading through this book, the Hygge life has got me. I usually make my News Year resolution with those of eating healthy, losing weight and getting more exercise however I am bored of these and want to try something new.
I have started by trying to create a Hygge living space. We have done this by creating a nook in out lounge whereby I can read or blog in the evenings. Of course candles had to be brought for this. But we also picked up this marble side table from West Elm to help bring in a different texture to the room.
So in 2017, here are the final steps we are going to take to be more Hygge:
- Get outside! Go for walks each weekend and swap the gym for the outside
- Say no sometimes! Instead of always going out to dinner or to the shops, spend more time at home on projects.
- Take up the carpets! We have just found out that we have floor boards under our carpet so we will be taking this up in 2017 and having beautiful natural floor boards.
- Re decorate our bedroom! We want to do this anyway, so I am going to be taking some of this inspiration and creating more of a Hygge style bedroom.
- Buy candles! Well, I have an obsession with doing this anyway so I guess its more to continue.
- Use the nook area to read and blog!
There are plenty of ways of getting Hygge in your life. Don’t try and do it all at once though, as that may be a bit of a culture shock. Just try and add in little steps in the months so work towards a more Nordic home and life style.
What are your thoughts of Hygge? Do you love it or not sure? Comment below your thoughts!
Until next time…