Did you know the Danes are the happiest people in the world? Well they are, according to a recent United Nations World Happiness Report, and I’ve been doing some reading on how this came to be and how I might bring some Danish happiness into my own world.
Because I can’t move to Denmark with its lovely support systems for working parents, shorter workdays and social structures, I’ve had to improvise by getting some Hygge into my life. Hygge seems to be an important element of Danish happiness and it’s easy to adopt, wherever we live.
Now, I should warn you before reading any further, consumption of this article might cause you to enter into a candle buying frenzy. You have been warned.
What is hygge?
Hygge means (via Visit Denmark):
“…creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too.”
It is pronounced “hue-gah”.
The hygge concept resonated with me because:
- I work from home, and being in the house all day and night can get a little dull.
- We’re just emerging from winter here, so the days are short and the nights (particularly early evenings with cranky children) can seem endless.
- I’ve been experiencing a lack of motivation in the dinner cooking department at the end of the day.
How to hygge… an introduction
For the past two weeks, as soon as the afternoon light fades I’ve been lighting candles in the entranceway of our house and turning on a special star-shaped paper lamp that I purchased at Christmas time from Ikea. I’m not the dedicated home-decorating type, so my attempts probably won’t impress the aesthetically inclined amongst you too much. But it really works for me and the brilliant thing about hygge is that it is completely subjective, so you can make of it what you want.
Since I’ve started this practice, I’ve noticed the energy in our home has shifted. I’m more happily transitioning from “worker bee” to “Mummy” and the children are less irritable too. My husband has also commented on how much he loves coming home at night to a house with candles and soft light.
If you’d like to add some hygge to your home, try:
- burning candles
- or just softening your lighting
- slow cooking your food
- eating lunch with friends on weekends
- playing music that makes you feel relaxed
- having fresh flowers in your home
- reading books with a cosy blanket
- introducing textures to a room, with chunky knit cushions, faux fur throws, and fluffy rugs
- enjoying the simple things – a relaxed cup off coffee, a candle-lit bubble bath or hanging family pictures on the wall.
Create your own hygge moment
Champagne Cartel Cushion – Happy place
Bloomingville tea cups – set of 2
Bea Bellingham watermelon vase
If you like the sound of hygge, find out more by:
- reading The Year of Living Danishly from Helen Russell
- reading The Little Book of Hygge by Miek Wiking
- listening to Episode 3 of this podcast episode from The Well
- checking out the The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark website.
Could you do with some hygge at your place?
This article first appeared carolynryder.com. Reproduced with permission.