Hygge is so trendy that it’s almost obnoxious, but recently on three (!) occasions, I found myself struggling to explain it to people who hadn’t heard of it (probably because they do more with their lives than read Apartment Therapy).
Anyway, the Danish concept of “hygge” (which I guess you say HUE-geh or HOO-guh depending who you ask) roughly translates to a feeling of coziness, connection, and contentment. (Conveniently alliterative, eh?) A slew of books recently came out about it, and the one I’m reading calls itself “a cure for SAD in book form,” which is kinda true!
From what I can tell, hygge means the feeling you get while sipping a steaming mug of tea on your couch, snuggled under a soft fluffy blanket, while having a good conversation with a friend…or your cat, I might add. Lots of faux fur, candles, shaggy & cozy textures, muted blush tones/neutrals, li’l cookies, and true crime TV shows, for some reason. (Those Danes gotta pass the cold dark winter somehow, I guess.)
No coincidence that IN THESE SCARY TIMES [glare in Trump’s direction] people are “cocooning” and embracing something that makes us feel safe and warm and comforted. There’s something simple, kind, quiet, and gentle about it, almost meditative. A nice contrast to loud, bright, flashy busy-ness and endless smartphone scrolling.
I confess reading The Book of Hygge has given me MAJOR Denmark envy. I know it’s romanticized and probably oversimplified, but Danish society sounds so utopian!
- It’s been one of the happiest countries in the world for decades
- Unlike America, there isn’t vast income inequality
- Low crime & “virtual non-existence of corruption“
- “Respect and tolerance are core values“
- Healthcare & education (including college) are free, thanks to high taxes
- Danes aren’t workaholics; 37-hour work week + FIVE WEEKS OF VACATION
- Danish culture discourages bragging, pretension, being fiercely competitive, and hogging the spotlight (a dream for shy, conflict-averse introverts!)
In lieu of moving there immediately, a few little prezzies for myself have boosted my home’s hygge factor: some special tea, battery-operated candles that turn on at the same time every night, and one of those ubiquitous Ikea fake sheepskins. I’ve also been making small attempts to be a better listener & be more present in the moment–more mindful, if you will.
AHH. Feeling more zen already.