Beat the winter blues with Danish hygge

What is hygge?

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish and Norwegian word that loosely translates into English as a feeling of warmth, cosiness, contentment and wellbeing. Although it’s a difficult concept to fully describe, hygge is a big part of Danish culture – there are even Danish words for a number of things associated with hygge. For example, your cosy, warm (and probably very unfashionable) pyjama or jogging bottoms you wear whilst lounging around are called “hyggebukser”, and your comforting nook or favourite armchair where you snuggle up to read your favourite book is called “hyggekrog”.

Although hygge is especially relevant in the wintertime when temperatures tend to drop, it’s an ethos intended to be used year-round to help your mental health and wellbeing.

How to be more hygge

The hygge trend is now catching-on around the world. And it’s easy to see why, since Denmark is often considered one of the happiest nations in the world. So how can you join the hygge revolution?

1. Leave your phone alone

We’re a nation of technology lovers – but busy schedules and habitual phone/tablet usage can leave you feeling constantly ‘switched-on’. Turn off your phone for the evening and enjoy just being in the moment.

2. Spend time with friends and family

Appreciating the simple things is a central part of accomplishing hygge. Schedule some time with family and friends, whether it’s grabbing an indulgent hot chocolate, playing a board game or just nestling down in front of a film enjoying good company.

3. Snuggle up

Get cosy and comfortable in your favourite spot. Prioritise relaxation, grab a blanket, read a book or listen to your favourite music and let life’s worries and troubles slip away.

4. Light some candles

During the winter months, which bring with them long and dark evenings, your mood may be lower than usual. Create a warm, snuggly atmosphere with some candles to make a cosy, warming atmosphere.

5. Enjoy some warming food

Help create a warming feeling inside as well as out – dig out your slow cooker or crock pot and treat yourself to a nice homely soup or stew.

Personal wellbeing during the winter months

As the winter chill continues to get even colder by the day, it’s important to be aware of the effect it can have upon your mental health and wellbeing. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that some people experience during the winter months. Read more about SAD here.