If you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you may have read that I have been reading a bit about the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ recently and since it is so in keeping with the theme of my little blog I felt I couldn’t let the winter months pass without a little post about it.
For those who have never heard of ‘hygge,’ it is basically an approach to life which embraces the warmth and happiness that can come from time spent in a cosy, comfortable environment with good food, good company and an atmosphere of togetherness and friendly support. Meik Wiking lists candlelight, blankets and cushions, friends, food, natural, handmade materials, comfort and a lack of technology as essential for creating ‘hygge.’
I think the reason the concept of ‘hygge’ really speaks to me though, is because it’s about a little bit more than cosy snuggles and candles (though I’m not averse to either!!) Life today can sometimes feel as though you have to be ‘in the game to win’ can’t it? Competition and ambition are heartily encouraged and Facebook is filled with articles about how to be successful, put yourself first and ‘have it all.’ We are encouraged to push our children to ‘be the best’ and to follow our careers ruthlessly ‘reaching for the stars’ but I sometimes wonder whether if we all taught our children to be ‘kind’ rather than ‘best’ and spent our lives striving to help others rather than ourselves, the world might be a much better place. Meik Wiking, author of ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ lists ‘equality’, ‘truce’ and ‘togetherness’ as three of his top 10 ‘hygge’ qualities. “We over me”, “Let’s discuss politics another day” he suggests and he describes the atmosphere provided by hygge as “a place of peace and security.” Doesn’t that sound nice?!
I personally feel that hygge is something we have been trying to create in our own home for years without actually knowing it had a name. It is that feeling you get on a Friday evening when you’re wrapped up warm and cosy with the lights low, your favourite people around you. It’s lashing rain against the window under a stormy winter sky and you don’t have anything to do or anywhere to be. There’s no talk of politics or work, no rush to get back to the laptop and everyone has put their phone away for the evening.
You can, of course, have a hyggelig evening (or day!) during the summer – a day at the beach which finishes, sun kissed and exhausted wrapped in a blanket and drinking a hot chocolate or an evening barbecue with friends gathering around the candlelight and chatting late into the night.
Or, a walk with the dog on a crisp autumn morning, the children in tow and a flask of tea to share. My husband will be laughing at that one – we haven’t been on a family dog walk for some time now because the children are so busy rushing around to dance classes and football, they’re never in the mood!
Anyhow, at it most basic, it’s about being with the ones you love, doing things you love to do, without drama or competition, being grateful for what you have, present in the moment together and finding the happiness in the small things – what’s not to love? I think we could all use a little ‘hygge’ in our lives don’t you?!
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