I keep seeing the word all over my social media feeds. “Hygge”, “lifestyle”, “minimalism”, “self-care”. Self-care?
And that’s where I got hooked.
As you may know, I love all kinds of self-care, especially the ones that are not so obvious from the first glance. Especially the ones you can indulge in all by yourself.
Well, then, what does it have to do with that mysterious “hygge”?
As I found out, literally, everything.
Hygge is a word of Danish origin (though it’s used in Norway as well) with the most Danish meaning possible. I don’t know what about you, but when I think of Denmark, I instantly get an image of warm wooden cabin, fireplace, soft blankets and a cup of warm tea or hot chocolate.
Did you imagine it too? Well, that’s what hygge is.
Or rather that feeling of comfort and coziness, the mindful moment of being present and feeling good, here and now. Shimmer of a candle and weight of a blanket, warmth of a cup and peace of mind – everything that makes that very moment relaxing and comfortable is included in the definition of hygge.
Broad concept, you bet.
No wonder it’s been gaining popularity over the past few years. Ever noticed that the world around is going crazy? 2020 turned out to be the peak (so far), but the last couple of years weren’t the easiest too.
Sometimes all you want to do is run back home and hide under blankets. Oh, why not try and enjoy the situation then?
But, jokes aside, let’s make it clear here and now: you cannot force hygge.
The word itself doesn’t even mean something in particular. Just like with mindfulness (which is a big part of hygge – I’ll come back to it later), you can’t make yourself feel all cozy and content.
Of course, you can buy a bunch of blankets, a box of hot chocolate packs, build a fireplace, heck, even move into remote cabin in the woods. Better even – to Denmark.
Nothing’s gonna work if your mindset is still tuned into the rush of the modern world.
The same way you can find your own moment of hygge unexpectedly, in a grey morning spent with a cup of brewed coffee and your favorite book.
Don’t rush it, don’t force it, don’t try to make a goal out of hygge, something you should find.
Instead, if you want to grasp that moment of comfortable stillness, pay attention to your habits, your mindset, your day-to-day life.
Where to Start
First of all, I’m neither a Danish nor Norwegian. I’m not an expert in hygge (if such even exist) and, in fact, just getting familiar with the concept as well.
But, as soon as I read the definition, I recognized the feeling right away. Recognized as an old friend of mine, as something I got to know long time ago.
As a highly sensitive person, I always strive towards more peaceful and comfortable life. Can’t say it always works out – hi, anxiety, hello, responsibilities, what’s up, depression and emotional trauma – but I need these little moments of mindful quiet to keep me sane.
And I mean it quite literally: a cup of sweet coffee, good book, quiet house and warm blankets every morning were the only things to distract me from depression in its worst times. Because I felt cozy, comfortable, and good in these moments.
I didn’t know yet the concept of mindfulness – but was experiencing it all the same.
And now I’m actively promoting it.
Or, okay, not that actively, but I do believe that it’s the necessary first step towards happier and healthier life.
So, if you ask me where to start when you first learn about hygge, I’d say:
That’s, like, the essence of hygge.
To feel and appreciate the moment to the fullest you have to know how to notice it first.
Our lives are filled with busy schedules: work, study, personal life, online life, hobbies, routines, movies, books, pets, friends, texts, you got what I mean. If I asked you what was the most memorable thing for today, you’d probably name something big and important.
And it’s good! Big and important things are, well, important.
But not only. Would you remember how soft was the pillow under your head when you just woke up? Would you name one thing that caught your eye in the window today? How much time did you spend looking at the clouds? Have you looked at them even?
All these things may seem too small to care about – but they were the part of your day nevertheless. It’s just that you were, most likely, too busy thinking about everything else but the present moment. Worrying and wiring yourself up.
Familiar with anxiety, maybe?
Please, do your mental health a favor and get out of your head – for a bit, for a few seconds at first – to look and appreciate where you are. What’s going on around you. How many things make your life better.
The more attention you pay to the present moment, the more likely you’ll find yourself peaceful and happy. The more likely you’ll find your moment of hygge.
Appreciate Little Things
You don’t have to have a big house, big cars and big rings to live a content, fulfilled life – just like having those things doesn’t necessarily mean happiness.
You can find so many smaller but cozier and more special things in your everyday life.
I’m not a fan of minimalism, at least for now, but it has caught my attention nevertheless. And it’s often mentioned along with hygge for a reason – because both include the notion of focusing on things that are special to you, that make you feel good.
So, if you are striving towards minimalism yourself, you know how meaningful things around you are. And if you aren’t, well, then it’s a good time to start paying attention!
That big cup your parents bought you as a present? That old journal you have from high school? That pillow you use specifically for the afternoon naps?
Learn to take a moment and appreciate all the things that are dear to you.
Create Small Habits
It’s like the previous point only with actions.
Instead of hurrying to get out of bed, then – to the kitchen, then – to the bathroom, then – to exercise, then – to work, and so on, and so on, stop for a moment. Look around you. What are you doing right now? What are you going to do? How do you feel about it?
And I don’t mean it literally – you don’t have to stand still for 5 minutes straight in the middle of your kitchen. Instead, look at what’s going on in your mind.
It all comes down to mindfulness really, but step-by-step you’ll get there. To the point where you know how to be present, how to appreciate every moment.
For now, start with habits, little rituals that’ll be special for you, that’ll be nice and comfortable, that’ll help you focus on where you are.
If you have a self-care routine, then it’s a great time to use it. Take something out of your list and make a ritual out of it – making pancakes, cleaning workplace, going for a walk.
Try to add a little sparkle of warmth into everything you do, and it’ll start coming to you naturally.
And if you don’t have a self-care routine, you can use my planner to give it a go! Just sign up down below – and get it, plus a few other daily planners, plus some other cool things in your inbox. Can’t reveal everything now – you have to see for yourself!
I mentioned it a dozen times already, but I also feel like it has to be a separate point. A reminder of how important it is.
Take a deep breath.
You have all the time in the world to reach your goals, to get where you want to be. Of course, we often have restrictions in our lives, but truly, there’s no need to fill your every moment with thoughts and worries about the future.
You’ll get there anyway, I promise.
For now, slow down in your hurry, just for a few seconds, to appreciate where and who you are right now.
Focus on What Makes You Feel Good
I keep telling you to pay attention to things around you – but let’s be honest, not all of them are gonna make you happy. Or, well, everything has potential to be seen as good, but let’s leave that conversation for another day.
For now, for the sake of this post, let’s say that some things make you comfortable and happy – and some just don’t.
Unfinished dishes, your pet’s fur on the couch, heavy rains outside, or neighbors’ music that’s too loud for your taste. All of that may catch your attention any given moment, and what peace can be found then?
That’s why you should also learn how to shift your attention – or change your perspective.
Don’t dwell on things that lower your mood – find something that makes you smile instead.
You can find something to be grateful for at any given moment, just know where to look. Just keep in mind that there’s so much more good in your life. That hygge can be found anywhere.
Bring More Comfort and Less Stress Into Your Life
Easier said than done, huh?
Stress can be even more familiar to you than peace, especially when you have anxiety dropping by from time to time. And I totally get it, same thing here.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t work on it, consciously, consistently, to make yourself less prone to stress and more – to comfort of your own life.
I have some options for you to try:
- Spending time outside
- Spending time with loved ones (including pets)
- Keeping a daily routine
- Getting enough sleep
- Daily self-care
These are just a few – but you can always find something that works even better for you.
The point is – you can reduce negative feelings in your day-to-day life by changing the way that exact day-to-day life is going. Stress, anxiety, anger, fear – nothing goes away on its own, you have to change something to move on.
And the less negativity you experience, the more space you open for good, positive thoughts. For mindful moments. For hygge.
Enjoy Your Life
It all comes down to this, doesn’t it?
Hygge may seem like something you can catch by the tail and drag closer, with candles and essential oils. And it may even work, once or twice.
But to actually feel it, you have to change your life first. Create space and time for it to come on its own.
You have to know how to find joy in mundane things and little acts of kindness and comfort, how to pay attention to what you have, how to pause your life for a moment and just snuggle under blankets with a blissful smile on your face.
Make time for yourself, your love and gratitude, your mind and soul, your peace and comfort – and then you’ll find yourself in the middle of hygge without even realizing.
So, are you ready to find that Danish piece of happiness on your own?