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You might have already heard of the Danish concept of “hygge”…? It has certainly been discussed and featured in tons of articles, lifestyle magazines and newspapers where we are told to “be more hygge” just by surrounding ourselves with more candles, pillows and blankets. Well, it is not quite that simple, so I thought it was time to straighten out what hygge is and what it is not.

Pillow with the definition of hygge

Hygge is a state of mind…

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Hygge (noun)

The word hygge comes from the word “to comfort”, “to think or consider”, “to give comfort and joy”. So, rather than a thing or activity, hygge is a mood – a feeling of coziness, of wellness and contentment. It feeds off happiness and relaxation. And of course, it exists only when there is a complete absence of stress or overwhelm. Simply put, it’s a state of mind.

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Creating a warm, cozy atmosphere and enjoying
the good things in life with good people.

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A cozy window

This is so me! A cozy corner with a warm drink, some snacks (of course) and a good book. That’s life, right there.

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How it all started…

This is just my imagination running a bit wild here – I have no scientific proof for what I am about to say. But it makes total sense to me that for people in the early centuries, hygge might have created a space that was needed for people to connect and lay their worries aside.

Imagine back in the day, when living was harsh, sparse and so so difficult. To just be able to survive the day was the goal. It must have been a relief to end your day in the safety of your home, have a basic cooked meal and sit around the table or by the fire and talk to your loved ones. Stress from the day was left outside the door…

I think hygge comes from THAT.

No wonder the viking’s needed some down time and “hygge”. Constantly out there in harsh conditions, chasing this and conquering that. I would need some relaxing candle light after a day’s work, that’s for sure.

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Modern day hygge

In modern days, hygge has transformed into something a bit more lighthearted. It’s about meeting with family and friends and talk about topics where the whole group can participate without any friction. It’s a space for the group to unwind. And, I have to say, if you throw in ingredients like a home-made apple crisp, chai latte, plenty of candles and some soft blankets… Count me in!

Every day when getting home from work, I immediately change out of my work clothes. It clearly marks the end of the work day and it helps me to mentally “shed” any lingering work thoughts that may be buzzing around in my head. 

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Hygge for me is…

Hygge for me is a lot about wonderful moments of togetherness but can also include times of solitude and stillness all by myself.

  • Reading a book in front of the fireplace with a purring cat on my lap
  • To come home from work and put my comfy clothes on and leave all my work thoughts behind
  • A walk in the woods
  • An afternoon spent with goddess girl friends with a glass of champagne and talk about EVERYthing
  • Kidnap one of the cats and bury my face in her fur. (This is hygge to me, but probably not on her list.)
  • A morning run with friends

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So, what’s hygge to you?

What comes to mind as good things in life for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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