I’ve been seeing this word, hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) floating around a lot recently. After a few times of it flashing before my eyes, I had to find out exactly what it was. By definition, hygge is a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). Well, if this word is all about creating comfort and coziness I’m all about it! I mean, who doesn’t love being cozy, and comfy, right?
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I then embarked on a research journey to find more specific information about this beautiful way of life! I figure, if I can create a life centered around Buddhism and hygge, I’d be one happy gal! Who doesn’t love warm, fluffy socks, a roaring fire, cuddly blankets, and sweaters, and the sweet taste of hot cocoa? I couldn’t find anyone against any of those things!
So, like, how do you hygge? OK, OK. It’s really a noun, not a verb, but, really…how? Let me break it down for you.
1. Connect With Nature
Yes, it’s cold outside for many of us, but that’s one of the best times to get outside and enjoy nature. You’ll see a variety of different animals that you may not normally see during the summer. You’ll find gorgeous patterns in the ice or snow. When you truly pay attention to what’s going on around you, you’ll be amazed at what you find and how wondrous Mother Nature can be. And when you’re done outside, connecting with nature, you go in, light a nice fire (if you’ve got a fireplace or wood stove), snuggle up under a soft blanket, and read your favorite book, or watch one of your favorite, feel-good movies.
After your time out in nature, move on to number two!
2. Get Comfortable
A soft, warm sweater, fluffy socks, candles, a fire roaring in the fireplace, a good book, hot cocoa or cider, warm blankets, a happy movie – these all provide warmth and comfort to us. How about a hot bowl of soup after a day out in the snow? Or you could try snuggling with your favorite pet. It’s all about what is comforting to you. Make the time to get comfortable and then enjoy it. Let the comfort surround you. You work hard and you deserve this time to just be cozy!
Personally, my favorite thing about winter is the snow. It’s just gorgeous! And another one of my favorite things is getting all cozy after some time out in the snow with my kids. Just sit for a moment, close your eyes, and remember how it felt as a child to come in from the cold snow, after a couple of hours playing with your friends. Mom or dad, (or a grandparent, maybe) would help get you out of your wet snow suit, and get you settled down with a cuppa cocoa, and some cartoons, right? How did that make you feel? Happy? Relaxed? Comforted? Yes! Now we’re on the right track!
3. Keep it Simple
Don’t go crazy buying a bunch of thick, soft sweaters. You’ve got everything you need right there in your house. This isn’t a time to go out and spend your money on things. This is a time to embrace the simplicity of life, and be happy with what you have. Most of us already own items that make us feel cozy and comfy. As I sit here now, I’ve got my favorite hoodie on, my favorite sweat pants, and a pair of thick, soft socks (thanks to the many that my kids gave to me for Christmas this year)! That’s all I need at this very moment to feel comfortable and cozy. Simple, and warm.
4. Partner Up
Now, we certainly can experience hygge all by ourselves, and sometimes we need to! We all need time alone to relax, reflect, and recharge. However, having a companion is also beneficial. Got a spouse, or significant other? Get them involved! Kids? Teach them all about slowing down, and about the benefits of comforting rituals. Not only can you relax with one other person, but small, cozy gatherings are beneficial as well. Get a few friends together, serve hot tea, cocoa, cider, and comfort foods. Once again, light candles, or a fire. You could even call it a hygge party. Tell everyone to come dressed comfortably, and to be ready for some quiet conversation and relaxation.
In the end, the name of the game is cozy, comfy, relaxation. It’s OK to take time out of your day to relax! Whatever activity you choose, get your hygge on by creating an atmosphere in which you can relax. Make it your own. Sure, you can find all of the suggestions in the world to create a comforting home, or space within your home, but this is all about individuality. What makes you feel happy and comfortable?
6. Create Your Space
Now, you can either create your entire home around hygge, or, if that’s not doable, at least create a space where you can go to relax. For example, what colors make you feel happy, and relaxed. For me, it’s purples, and sages. You’re going to see a lot of suggestions out there, but you need to feel as if this is your space. If you choose colors that don’t make you feel cozy and happy, your space won’t do much for you. Remember, you don’t have to go remodeling this space. Grab a few items that make you happy, and work from there.
My hygge space, at this moment, is actually my bedroom. It’s quiet, cozy, and comforting for me.
You’ll find many books written on this topic, however, I won’t be recommending any for this particular topic. That’s because you don’t need to spend any money on a book in order to add some hygge to your life. You probably already have your own cozy, comforting rituals in your life. But becoming more aware of these things, and embracing this lifestyle will help create a more calm, happy atmosphere for both you, and anyone you come into contact with. For me, hygge and Buddhism go hand in hand. Awareness is a common component in both.
I will recommend, though, an awesome blog, where you can read all about hygge, and it’s benefits!