Written by Winnie Liu
The word ‘Hygge’ in Danish roughly translates to a feeling of cosiness and warmth surrounded by those you love. So, the question is, how do we find more Hygge in our everyday lives?
The Danes coined this term and accredit it as one of the reasons why they have the happiest workforce on earth. Danes are aware of the decoupling of wealth and wellbeing and are good at focusing on what brings in the most happiness and a better quality of life. And yes, the word itself defies translation – this wholesome use of cosiness is used to sell everything from fluffy socks to bicycles.
So, sure, it may be cringeworthy to some, but here are a few ways to be more ‘hygge’:
Learn to commute everywhere by bike
In all seriousness, Copenhagen is such a biking haven that you will likely find yourself cycling everyday as bikes outnumber cars. There is virtually bike traffic now! It will likely be one of the things you will miss most when leaving after a visit to Denmark. As exercise increases dopamine levels, start doing 2.5 hours a day to enjoy the fresh air and raise your heartbeat.
Start dropping the word ‘hygge’ into everyday conversation
Using the word more often increases the likelihood that it will be easier to achieve. As we all know, our language shapes our behaviour and behaviour shapes our happiness, so feel free to make the word ‘hygge’ your new best friend.
Do not stay late after work
Danes have a real sense of prioritising family life alongside work, and have one of the best work life balances in the world. This, coupled with the dark Danish winters starting at around 4pm, means they love nothing more than getting home to spend time with their loved ones. A real Danish winter can be so cosy!
There is no other a place in Europe where you can find so many candles glittering everywhere, from outdoor restaurants to cosy private dinner tables, than in Denmark. They have an almost Hollywood wish to be ‘hygge’ in everything they do, from candlelit gardens to open fires. So when you go home tonight, light some candles, wrap up warm in a blanket with a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Don’t deprive yourself
Hygge also encompasses a slight luxury quality. So, this means indulging in what makes us happy, and so often means eating cake and pastries. Do not mind if we do!
Finally, do not be fooled by the weather as the Danes often say ‘there is no bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!’ Take Copenhagen for example, you will find most people dressed elegantly in black – keeping their wardrobes minimally coloured, stylish, and warm. There is no excuse to not enjoy the cosy outdoors.
Featured Image: © Stella Rose