Danish winters are long, dark and cold. To combat this, the Danes use Hygge. It’s difficult to explain, but the word, which is pronounced ‘hoo-gah,’ roughly translates to ‘cosiness’. It’s about creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. It’s about candle light, spending time with your friends and family, having a good time, enjoying the outdoors, and relaxing; embracing the winter. It might also explain why the Danish are the happiest people in the world!
Set the mood with a Hygge living room
Replace those glaring light bulbs for warm-toned ones with a lower wattage. Invest in lots of candles and dot them around the room. Bring home throw pillows and sofa blankets in cuddly textures. Cover over cold, bare floors with thick pile rugs. Throw some logs in the fire place, and serve up some mulled wine! More ways to create a cosy living room.
Host a winter bonfire
Want an excuse to get the friends together this winter? Host a winter bonfire! Pile together sticks and old bits of wood, and set it alight in a burner in your garden. Gather round with drinks, embrace the warmth, and enjoy each other’s company. And, when the flames die down, you can all sit in loungers with warm cups of cocoa in your laps, your heads thrown back, and your eyes glaring up at the winter constellations. Star gazing is very Hygge.
Lap up the daylight
One of the dullest things about winter is the long nights, and how it gets dark so early. But, there are still lots of daylight hours – and the fact it’s a bit cold shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them! So wrap up warm, and get outside in the daylight; lap up the vitamin D, which is often associated with happiness. Yes, we get it, you work – but you get days off, and you can even head outside on your lunch break! Walk to the café on foot. Or, if you can eat at your desk, just put your earphones in and take a stroll around the area for half an hour. You’ll feel loads better just being outside in the daylight, and breathing in the fresh air.
Top tip: Other great sources of happiness-inducing vitamin D are fish, soy and mushrooms.
Try winter sports
Hygge is all about embracing what each season throws at you. In the winter, we have snow and ice; so enjoy it! Turn it into fun with your friends. Go sledding or ice skating. Or, for something less cliche, try your hand at curling!
Have an indoor picnic
There’s something magical about picnics; sitting on the ground on a blanket, and picking from a mish-mashed buffet of different foods; sandwiches, food, snacks. Pouring drink into a flimsy plastic cup. Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good picnic. That’s not the Hygge way. The Hygge way says: do it anyway! Do it in your living room! Invite all your friends and family, tell them to bring an item of food each and share, eat and enjoy!
Visit an elderly friend or relative
Winter can make you feel trapped; but most probably, you’re not; you’re able to leave the house. However, you probably know someone who is truly housebound – maybe an elderly relative. Take the time to go and see them this winter. Spend and hour or two with them; show them you care. It’ll mean the world to them, and it’ll make you feel better, too.
So there you have it – ways to make your chilly winter that little bit warmer with Hygge!