Your Inner Hygge

Okay, so what is this thing called Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) that so many people are talking about these days? The word and concept is derived from the Danish word meaning to slow down, to live in the moment, and to embrace and experience everyday ordinary moments as meaningful.

So you may be saying this is all very well and good, but how can I experience this and how does this apply to me? Perhaps you find yourself rushed off your feet, or maybe you feel critical of yourself if you slow down and give yourself some ‘me time’. But if we don’t give ourselves some time (even a few 10-15 minute slots a day) to breathe, soak in our feelings and surroundings and to take care of ourselves we run ourselves to a frazzle unable to cope with the waves of everyday life. You don’t need the luxury of a whole day or even half a day to embrace the concept of Hygge.

For instance, you might like to enjoy making a warm drink whilst really taking the time to really taste and smell the sweet, spicy and homely aromas emerging from your cup. Perhaps you enjoy wrapping up warm on cold days or wintry nights whilst enjoying watching the warm dance from the glow of the fire, or you may like to feel the calming energy and light given out by your favourite candle or a string of fairy lights. Do you enjoy cooking or simply enjoy soaking in the scent or taste of those freshly baked cakes, cookies or a homemade slow-cooked meal. Have you ever simply enjoyed the company of friends or family, played a board game whilst it was cold or raining outside, or simply taken the time to laugh or ‘be’ in the moment? Perhaps you’d rather cuddle up with a favourite book, music playlist, your favourite film or simply embrace the peaceful serenity of silence whilst not thinking or worrying about tomorrow or what has gone and been.

So why are so many people raving about Hygge? In uncertain political cultural and socio-economical times as well as considering everyday stresses and the personal struggles people face, many are turning back to home comforts so that they can feel that all-embracing hug, warmth and loving acceptance from the environment to within.

However, for most of us who live in the throes of a fast-paced and expecting society, to embrace this way of life is not always easy (even for 15 minutes a day). You may feel ashamed or guilty if you slow down, perhaps you hear that nagging inner voice saying you don’t deserve to ‘just be’ or to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. If this is the case, don’t worry, you are not alone!

Creating Your own Hygge: ‘The Sleep, Nurturing and Relaxation Box’ 

If you find self-care difficult, perhaps you might like to try creating your own ‘sleep, nurturing and relaxation box’. You can either create your own box using art materials images and photos, or you can choose to either buy one or just simply use that old shoe box which you’ll find at the back of your cupboard or wardrobe.

This box can include anything from your favourite candle to a string of glowing fairy lights. Perhaps you might want to include comforting angel cards or other types of self-care cards, favourite photos or an album of images of when you felt truly content. There is also a place for your favourite book or a nostalgic childhood story, which always made you smile. Perhaps you’re more drawn to creating a playlist of relaxing sounds, or to write in an end of day compassion journal listing two or three things that made you feel happy that day; this can be anything such as noticing the sun or moon in the sky, reaching out to friends, getting up and making yourself a warm drink to eating something fun, hearty and comforting. This may start with something like; ‘Today I feel happy because….’. You may even like to include a pair of warm cosy socks and a soft blanket to wrap around your shoulders whilst you embrace your favourite calming scent. Then simply put your warm bedside light/ fairy lights on, light your candle and cuddle up in front of a warm fire.

Home is where the heart is

Recently, the world has been hit by flooding, hurricanes, war, political decisions and terrorism. All in all, this can create a sense of insecurity, doubt and anxiety about safety, boundaries and very often questions arise around the concerns and instability of home life. Very often I hear people question where their home is? We often search for some meaning of who we should be, how we should feel or how we should live from peer pressure, politics, media, society and our environments. We are constantly travelling and searching for a meaning of who we are and what our purpose is in life. Yet what we need to remember is, we are unlikely to find happiness from those learnt social, cultural or political expectations. However, we can choose to connect to the warm glow of the home from within others and ourselves even for 15 minutes a day.