Huh? Hygge? Unless you are from Denmark or Sweden, you might not be familiar with this Scandanavian tradition. Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, is a lifestyle. Consider it the new mental health trend.
The term Hygge goes back to the 16th century, meaning “to comfort”. Practicing Hygge is a way to cope and embrace the dark, cool days of winter when sunshine is minimal. This Nordic secret might be just what many of us need to get through SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sometimes, wrapping your brain around, and simply accepting, something that you cannot change is the best way to deal with it. Enter Hygge.
Embracing darkness and cold might not sound easy. The key is to surround yourself with what means “cozy” to you. Literally blankets, fire, candles, friends, laughter, warm drinks, warming and grounding foods. Interestingly, Hygge doesn’t shy away from the darkness. From what I have learned, the lifestyle does not involve trying to make rooms brighter, or by any means counterbalance the darkness. Rather, darkness and candle light add to the ambiance, add to feelings of coziness and closeness.
Want to add a little Hygge into your life? Here are 5 lessons we can take from Scandanavia:
- Hygge together: gather your friends and loved ones, make a meal together of warming foods like roasts, root vegetables, soups, warm rye bread, warm drinks, and foods that “stick to your ribs”. Friends that hygge together, stay together. 🙂
- Bring the outdoors in: create a centerpiece for your table, make a promise to always have fresh flowers in one or two rooms, or start a collection of beautiful dried flowers and leaves and display it on your coffee table.
- Lots of blankets and pillows: bring out your favourite hand made afghan or buy the fluffiest throw you can find. Create a little corner on your oversized chair or loveseat with giant throw cushions and wrap yourself up for the night.
- Aromatherapy: burn some organic essential oils, light some beeswax candles, add some fresh rose petals to your warm bath. Inhaling essence of flowers can have a stimulating, relaxing or calming effect on your nervous system. Choose oils or plants that make you feel good. Some prefer citrus, floral, even woodsy.
- Make a “me corner”: a place to call your own where you can write, meditate, stare out a window, contemplate your thoughts. Fill it with a few of your treasures, a candle, an essential oil diffuser, a journal and your book.
Adding a little Hygge into your life will surely reduce your stress. Your negative thoughts toward winter or cold or constant rain will dissipate if you simply embrace what you cannot change. Hold my hand, come sit by the fire and Hygge with me.
Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.