My husband Jannik is Danish. Hygge has become an international phoenionan and I find it fascinating. We pay homage to Hygge in our channel name. For Danes, it’s cultural DNA. It has a multitude of meanings including; the pursuit of everyday happiness, cosiness, spending time with loved ones, gratitude, relaxation, good quality of life, and living in the moment (mindfulness). I think the principles of Hygge are a great way to live a balanced life regardless of where in the world you are. It’s not about being happy all the time (although global surveys suggest Danes are the happiest in the world) but more about appreciating all the small things that make life better. It can be something as simple as creating a cosy atmosphere and sitting down for a family meal. Especially during lockdown, we paid closer attention to creating those Hygge moments with our children. Some of the ways that we do this include:
- Making ‘special’ meals together that we eat together with our children. No phones or other tech allowed. We decorate the table nicely and our children help. We lay the food out as if it was a Christmas meal with all the trimmings and naughty desserts. At the end of the meal, we play games together, listen to music and do arts and crafts.
- We prepare picnics to enjoy at the beach or in nature. Again we include the children in the preparation process, they tell us what food they would like to include. We pack toys for the kids and wine for the grown ups!
- We have a serious amount of candles and room scents! We enjoy beautifully smelling rooms with a great atmosphere. We choose time to talk over watching TV.
- I practice mindfulness using the Calm App. Each day we think about what we are grateful for.
- We practice ‘an acts of kindness’ towards each other in our daily lives. It can be a challenge when we are busy but it’s important.
- We try to do things that make us feel good. For me, it could be dancing, for Jannik playing Tennis and for the kids it’s easily the park or beach with the undivided attention of their parents.
- We love spending time with our extended family (when allowed) eating together, sipping wine and catching up while the kids play together and even the dogs join in!
- We enjoy the simplicity and practicality of Danish style and design. The lack of clutter and organisation means that we have less chaos in our daily lives which is important when we mostly work from home.
It’s a simple concept that many people do without thinking. It’s the mindfulness, presence and appreciation of the particular act or moment that makes it Hygge.
Check out one of our favorite books about living a Danish Hygge life. It is The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It’s a lovely read and makes a great gift. X has been called the king of happiness and is the world expert on Hygge.