This may or may not be a buzz word floating around the internet and verbal atmosphere (sometimes I’m out of the loop and people ask me if I live under a rock-so be it): the Danish practice of hygge. Apparently, when it comes to relaxation, the Danes know it best! While there is no literal English translation, this term is identified as “the coziness of the soul”, or a general state of “wellness” or “togetherness”, and is emphasized as a lifestyle practice that centers around stillness, soothing, self-care, and pleasure.
I can get behind that.
This practice is even rooted in the idea that Danish culture occupies some of the most fulfilled and pleasant people in modern day culture, and much of this consistent mood boost is attributed to this sacred lifestyle and practice (guys, there’s like actual studies on this). Taking pleasure in simplicity and enjoying and savoring those sweet moments of life is what you will find in this endearing practice. It centers around the idea that in order to give comfort and breathe life into the world and relationships, we must be soothed and comforted ourselves: not just when we are in “burn out-shut ourselves in our room and bite the head off of anyone who speaks to us” mode, but as an intentional, daily lifestyle that is to be cultivated and nurtured. Some of these elements of hygge surprised me greatly, as they seem so simple and easy to implement! But how often in American we find ourselves taking these things for granted, or not truly recognizing the impact of what these small changes may have on us? I’ll tell you one thing, I certainly do notice an impact when these elements are NOT present in my life. Hygge was a concept that was especially emphasized during the more harsh weather months (um….what a more perfect time to implement some of these than now?), but is encouraged to be practiced year-round, and more importantly, daily. Here are some practices of hygge that I came across and am truly in love with:
- Invest in some soothing candles: You all know that I am all about those sweet scents. But even more than that, abiding by the illumination that these candles produce can instill a natural calming effect, both through reminding us of our humble “smallness” as well as setting the tone for slow conversations and tender moments. It has even been said that the simplicity of one single lit candle is one of the most fundamental hygge moments of achieve.
- Update to cozy lounge-wear: who doesn’t look forward to taking off the skirt and heels and slipping into a cozy pair of sweats after a long day? But taking this one step further, hygge suggests for us to think deliberately about our lounge-wear: is it as warm and comfy as it can be? is it old and really shouldn’t be held onto any longer (preach)? Is there any way to add an element (fuzzy socks, cozy robe, etc) that can make this attire even more soothing to the body? Additionally (and I’m SO guilty of this); BUY A REAL PAIR OF PAJAMAS. Do not sleep in your yoga pants or sweats (boo): have a specific set of sleepwear that treats your body well and sends your mind and body the message that it is time to transition into slumber.
- Take up a new hobby: hygge emphasizes something soothing or busy for the hands that also creates and opportunity to learn something new. And as hygge tradition, this can also be a social event! Gathering is something emphasized in the hygge practice, in order to share this experience or as a time set apart to lift each other up and encourage one another in intentional living.
- Stock a self-care kit: having a set collection of materials that assist you in facilitating the art of self-care produces even more motivation to use self-care on the daily. My fave tip for this is creating a sensory soothing kit: one item for each sense that allows you to soothe. Examples-pictures of fond memories, essential oils, specific aromatherapy lotions or face masks, specific soundtrack of music or soothing tones, herbal teas or small treats like delectable chocolates, warm blankets. Stash this away somewhere where you can always access it (I even encourage creating two and having one you can travel with or keep in your car!).
- Slow down: Yeah right, but seriously. More recently, some of my most fond moments have been savoring the simple and slow moments life has to offer me and those around me. Even if its doing a media fast one day per week, setting up unscheduled blocks of time in your schedule to be spontaneous, having eyeball to eyeball contact daily with those you do life with, this skill is so important. Truth be told, it’s something that I am even still working on (we’re in this together!). Moral of the story: the simple moments demand for us to slow down and take in what is within our immediate vicinity. When we’re able to do that, we’re able to cultivate the most refreshing kind of connectiveness, and gratitude breeds out of that place into our lungs.
So, how do you “hygge”? What have been some elements of this practice that are most essential to you? Or, which elements are you motivated to implement into your own lifestyle?
Stay cozy friends, and as always, stay tuned,