Every year, as the winter draws in, we tend to have low moods and experience depression, particularly if days are dark with little sunshine.
The Danes have long had a way to lift their mental well-being in a simple, yet effective way — having a hygge lifestyle this winter.
Hygge is a Danish term defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
Hygge is a lifestyle that is tied to unhurried, mindful living.
Hygge is a feeling of snug comfort, warm coziness, inner peace, and mental satisfaction, often described as happiness in a bowl of soup.
Despite being a Danish concept, the hygge movement is sweeping the world. The hygge way of life can help lift the winter blues and hence resonates with many people living outside the Scandinavian zone.
Let’s dive in to find out how you can hygge your way through winter, making the cold season enjoyable even when you hate it.
7 Tips To Have A Hygge Night (And Enjoy Winter When You Hate It)
Hygge is the thoughtful art of making ordinary things extraordinary. It elevates you every day and you can have it anywhere.
You may sip your coffee feeling hygge while watching the rain outside. You could close your eyes to whiff in the aroma of baking bread. You could have a wild time lunching and drinking with your friends.
Winter, mainly the time around Christmas, is perhaps the best time to experience hygge. It is a great time to warm our bodies sitting next to a wood fire or wag a chin with a friend over a mug of hot chocolate.
Here are some ways to bring hygge into a cold, wintry night:
1. Light up the room with candles in colored glasses.
Candles are non-negotiable parts of Scandinavian living. Hygge nights are unimaginable without candlelight.
Danish people deck their winter holidays with low lighting and warm colors, and candles in colorful glasses can help achieve both to create a hygge atmosphere.
Light up candles in your room while taking care they are away from curtains.
You may use candles in glasses to protect your tables from molten wax.
You could use scented candles to fill your room with a mood-lifting aroma.
2. Bring warm clothing and blankets for everyone’s use.
Danish winters are long and freezing. Hygge nights are for wrapping up in warm clothing snuggling up and warm blankets.
Do the same. Since your priority is to enjoy a hygge night in, dress in comfortable home clothes.
Soft, warm shirts and pajamas layered with woolen gowns and blankets bring out that sense of hygge.
Wear warm socks that you can walk around in.
You could try battery-powered, rechargeable, heated clothing with heat settings to wear fewer clothes and still feel cozy and mobile.
3. Hot drinks with delectable toppings.
A hygge night is incomplete for the Danish people without a hot drink.
Mulled wine, spiced and warmed red wine, is a favorite recipe throughout Denmark and Sweden.
The Danes and the Swedes call it “gløgg.” Traditional Danish gløgg is served with chopped almonds and raisins. So, the drink is served with a spoon so that you may scoop out the raisins and almonds in between sipping.
Some other hygge hot drink options are creamy chocolate drinks with toppings, warm salt butter tea, green tea, cookie lattes, chai lattes, sipping caramel, and macha honey hot chocolate drink.
4. Homemade, slow-caked, traditional food.
Danish cuisine is well-known for its meats, rye bread, and fruit-and-cream desserts.
- The national dish of Denmark is stegt flæsk or fried or grilled pork breast served with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce.
- Pølser is popular street food in Denmark that is like a hot dog made with red sausage and various toppings.
- Frikadeller are traditional Danish meatballs, cooked and eaten in Denmark for over 200 years.
- Another favorite Danish hygge food is smørrebrød, which is buttered rye bread topped with meats, garnishes, and cheese.
You could make a variation of these, or make some stewed vegetables with spices.
Finish your hygge dinner with some hot chocolate cake or creamy pastry.
5. Keep your hygge night free of digital interruptions.
It is a mind-wearying habit of scrolling through your social media screens that keeps you from relaxing.
Decide to be in the moment, fully experiencing the talk, food, and ambiance.
Keep your phones on silent mode or better, in another room.
Talk without hurry. Listen without interruptions.
6. Experience a solo night of hygge.
If you’re going to be alone on a hygge experience, treat yourself as your favorite friend who turned up as a guest for the evening.
Make sure to plan the entire menu and list of activities you’ll want to engage in.
Buy candles. Buy some new, warm blankets if you feel like it.
Prepare the food or order them to reach you at least 2 hours before you start your mulled wine session.
Keep some soft music playing in the background. Lie down to revisit your pleasant memories from all your life.
Read a book you have been meaning to read for a long time.
You may even dance a slow dance all by yourself.
7. Clean and declutter your house and place.
Decluttering and tidying your space is an important element of hygge.
A nice and tidy environment allows you to relax and converse without stress.
You wouldn’t want to be distracted from the fuzzy comfort of a warm dinner and fond memories by a dirty or overstuffed corner.
You may create hygge by making tiny changes in your surroundings, and then indulging in an unrushed joyful experience.
This is the concept of hyggekrog — a hygge spot — a quiet nook where you may unwind with a book and drink.
Create a hyggekrog in a corner of your home.
Your hyggekrog may have a cushioned chair, a small library of books, a side table for candles and a warm drink, an overhead lamp, and an indoor plant. Keep a warm blanket and cushions.
Your hyggekrog could be a place overlooking a window if you want to make it a daytime affair or want to watch the snowfall.
The Hygge Movement And Meik Wiking
The person behind bringing hygge to the masses is Meik Wiking, one of today’s most influential happiness researchers.
Meik feels hygge is a defining feature of Danish cultural identity.
He founded the world’s first Happiness Research Institute in 2013, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
He is an advisor to the Global Happiness Policy Report and founder of The Happiness Museum in Copenhagen.
Meik has been called The Indiana Jones of Smiles. He is a New York Times and The Times Bestselling author of several books, including,
- The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well,
- The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments, and
- My Hygge Home: How to Make Home Your Happy Place.
If you visit Denmark, you will see an incredibly warm and happy culture that stands in stark contrast to that of the United States. Hygge is part of their family and social culture, and it guides how they live their lives.
Hygge can be as simple as a cup of hot tea in a lovely porcelain cup while watching the snow fall outside. It could be a spirited dinner time with good friends.
You can have a hygge time even if there are no candles.
Hygge nights fill you with warmth and help you with a digital detox.
It may also bring down your power costs. Wrapping yourself in warm blankets and woolens while keeping the house heating off can make your hygge experiences both wallet-friendly and eco-friendly.
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Did you know there is Direct Light Therapy to beat the SAD, Winter Blues?
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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