You’ve probably heard that Denmark is regularly voted one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s known that a typical home there emphasizes natural lighting, warm sentiments, and the cultural ritual of hygge. The intention of hygge is simple. Along with the removal of anything emotionally overwhelming or draining, it’s meant to make you and your loved ones feel relaxed and comforted.
In a world that’s constantly evolving and relying on fast paced rhythms and communication (i.e. your smartphone), it can be difficult to set aside some time to gather your thoughts and really experience your life deeply. Some meditate, while others may go for a run. But in order to actively jumpstart a new intention for living life to the fullest, it’s important to do so with a feeling of security and support.
That’s what hygge is all about.
Hygge (depending on where you’re from, it can be pronounced hoo-gah or huh-gah) is a Norwegian and Danish ritual to enjoy life’s simple pleasures by being present and in the moment. The ritual closely embodies feelings of coziness, warmth, and gratitude. Though many millennials probably see this term tossed around in the colder months while people snuggle under blankets and drink hot tea, I believe that this concept can and should be practiced year-round. Some of its health benefits include better sleep, relaxing your muscles, and even preventing headaches.
Good Food and Good Times
If you live in the suburbs, invite some close friends over for a barbecue and roast some marshmallows outdoors (bonus if you share old memories and stargaze together).
Grab an iced green tea for some energizing antioxidants and find the nearest garden or park to sit down and meditate. Even if this is just for a quick 5 minutes on your lunch break, the fresh air will clear your head and calm your mind.
Note: if you can’t find some time to make it to the park, simply crack open a window and take some time to journal and reflect. A nice, cool breeze will always feel good on your skin - especially when it’s paired with some good music and a candle here or there.
Flowers are the Ultimate Magic Wand
Make it a monthly goal to buy a bouquet of your favorite peonies and bring some cheerful vibes into your day. Not only will it make home smell amazing and brighten up the space, it will surely put a smile on your face.
Break Out the Blanket and Cheese Board
A picnic at your local beach, lake, or park is the ultimate hygge retreat to reconnect with the Earth and your loved ones. If you live in NYC, find out how you can get the picnic brought to you.
Lighten Your Linens
Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean you can’t get cozy in bed. All you have to do is replace your heavy duvet with a lighter alternative and snuggle up. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse for breakfast in bed.
It’s always nice to look through old pictures and see what you did four summers ago. But if you don’t always have a camera handy, there are some grade low-tech ways to create keepsakes. Take an old mason jar or container of your choice and fill up a “memory jar”. Every time you encounter or experience something memorable, write it down on an index card and stick it in the jar. When you look back and read them in a couple months, all those warm, fuzzy feelings will come floating back.
Host a Game Night
Summer schedules are busy for everyone and it can be easy to let your friends fall to the side. But a huge part of hygge is spending time with your nearest and dearest. This time of year is perfect to host a casual board game night, where everyone brings their favorite dish (homemade or not - no judgement!) with extra points for those who show up in PJs.
Above are just some ideas, come up with your own and share them in our comments below! Happy hygging!