Have you heard of hygge? It is the latest rage in self-care. Hygge is new to North America, but it originated in Denmark & Norway. They have been hygging for a long time and are considered the happiest country in the world. I love hygge because it is amazing for managing my mental health!
What is Hygge?
Hygge is a Danish word that conveys the mood of coziness and contentment. It is more of a feeling than a single word. It embodies the feelings of togetherness, happiness, gratitude, and well-being by enjoying the simple things in life; like reading a good book, playing a board game with friends, cooking and baking, sitting in front of a warm fire with a cup of hot chocolate. It is a warm and cozy lifestyle.
How to Pronounce Hygge? (pronounced hue-guh)
I’m not going to lie I still have trouble with the pronunciation of this word. My brain automatically wants to follow the grammatical rules and I often read it like hee-gg-ee in my head. But here is how it is actually pronounced.
According to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and author of The Little Book of Hygge there are 10 points to achieve a perfect hygge day or lifestyle.
- Atmosphere – Set the mood; dim the lights; light the candles; have a fire
- Be Present – Put the phone away, ignore social media. Be in the here and now.
- Pleasure – Indulge in your favourites. Coffee, chocolate, cakes (you get the idea). Even better take the time to bake cookies and cook a hearty stew.
- Equality – Share the love and the tasks. Many hands make light work. Invite your closest friends to join in your hygge day.
- Gratitude – Appreciate what you have. Soak it in.
- Harmony – Check your ego at the door. Talk about your accomplishments another time. Create a feeling of love and joy.
- Comfort – Get comfy and cozy. Blankies, wool socks, comfy clothes.
- Truce – No drama. Leave the debating and venting for another get-together
- Togetherness – An important element in hygge is to not do it alone. Invite friends and family. Build memories and relationships. Reminisce and tell stories.
- Shelter – Your home should be peaceful, safe, and cozy.
Benefits of Hygge on Mental Health:
Hygge is especially prominent in the winter months when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) raises its ugly head and it has many benefits to fight SAD as well as anxiety and depression. Hygge is essentially a form of self-care.
In 2016 Denmark was voted the happiest country in the world ( Legos are Danish so this is completely understandable). When you look at the elements of hygge it instantly resonates with self-care. Self-care is a purposeful activity that promotes physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health (sounds just like hygge hey?).
Hygge decor inspires the feeling of peacefulness, calm, and safety. Being comfortable in your space allows for more openness and relationship building. Hygge also lessens depression and anxiety by focusing on gratitude and mindfulness. It lowers stress, increases self-esteem and optimism, boosts self-compassion, and improves relationships.
Hygge is not just about sitting around eating indulgent food. It is also about being active; going for a walk with loved ones, enjoying nature, playing outside (build a snowman, go snowshoeing or tobogganing). So Hygge has physical benefits too like; improved sleep, weight control, reduced cortisol (the stress hormone).
Hygge can be practiced alone but it is also a highly social activity. Hygge focuses on building connections and trust in relationships. Having strong social ties creates a sense of belonging and connection which improves overall health and well-being. Hygge encourages being in the moment and showing gratitude for the things and people around you.
How I Use Hygge to Manage my Mental Health:
Since I have discovered hygge it has to be the best thing ever in my self-care routine. I will plan and schedule hygge days. I cook a comforting meal, have a fire in the fireplace, read a good book, light candles, watch t.v. and movies and most importantly I give myself permission to relax and recharge.
By scheduling my hygge days it gives me something to look forward to and a goal to reach because I want to finish my tasks so I can truly enjoy my hygge day and not feel guilty.
Do you hygge?
~ Lacey ~