I know it is technically Spring now but this past weekend was so cold! Storm Eunice hit us hard here in the UK with winds that broke records (believe me when I say this is no easy task) and combined with storm Franklin, this was not a weekend for outdoorsing.
But to be honest, I quite like it when the weather is going wild outside and I can hear the wind howling above our roof. It's on days like that where I like to get as cosy as possible with my favourite pair of fluffy socks, drink some coffee and read a good book right in front of a warm log fire. And then, when the night falls and the temperature drops even more, I light candles, lots of them, and place them around the house. The yellow glow they emanate creates a very comforting warm sensation that is quite hard to describe. And if you have a fondue pot going, you have accomplished heaven on earth, or as the Danish call it, you are experiencing Hygge.
As you can imagine, the winters in Denmark can be quite severe and while storms Eunice and Franklin only last a few days, the Danish have several months of cold bad weather to deal with it. Because of it, they spend a lot of time indoors so they have mastered how to enjoy the little things in life and get the best out of otherwise miserable days. Despite their harsh winters, the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth so I think we can learn a thing or two from them.
In his super popular book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, Meik Wiking explores the concepts of the Hygge and how to achieve the cosy lifestyle. And guess what? Candles have a huge role in the Scandinavian sense of wellbeing! But Hygge is not just about the aesthetic of your living room, it is also about food, friendship and feelings of contentedness and safety. Want to know a little more about it? Here is your crash course on Hygge based on our take of Meik’s ten principles of Hygge.
1. Lighting is the heart of it
Let's start with one of the most important elements of Hygge - Lighting! Harsh bright white and overhead fluorescent lights don’t let us relax and feel cosy. Instead, try switching those for lamps and the warm glow of candles. This will make a huge difference in the mood of your room. Scented candles like our Lemongrass are amazing for their relaxing aromatherapy properties as well as the soft gentle flame.
2. Be present
Hygge is all about slowing down and enjoying the right here and right now. Try to reduce the time spent with electronics and start just concentrating on the activity you are doing at the moment. Put the phone to one side and unplug.
3. Treat yourself
Fancy dinners are splendid but sometimes a warm cup of coffee paired with nice fresh pastry can be as enjoyable. Spare some time to prepare nutritious comfort food instead of a microwave dinner. Take pleasure during wholesome mealtimes instead of eating for functionality or convenience.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
― Meik Wiking
4. Good vibes only
Leave the drama for the telenovelas. When inviting people over, just focus on having a good time and forget about the beef you have over that Tupperware that has never been returned. Hygge is all about good vibes so perhaps leave the controversy and dirty laundry for another time.
5. Sharing is caring
Hygge is about ‘we’ of ‘me’ so start sharing with others. Share a batch of cookies you just made, share the praise you got at work, share car journeys, share holidays, share house chores, share your worries as well as your victories with your friends and family, and share the spotlight.
6. Gratitude is your motto
Remember the analogy of the half-empty and half-full cup? Always choose the half-full option! Hygge is about viewing life with grateful eyes and enjoying the bright side of things. Happiness is within you.
7. Less is more
Can we all agree that small gatherings are far more fun than larger parties? It's in these simple yet very fulfilling events that Hygge thrives. If you got invited, well done! Everybody already likes you so trust your own awesomeness and avoid bragging. Hygge is for everybody in the room so practice being humble so others can also enjoy the moment.
8. It’s all about comfort
Warm blankets, soft rugs, crackling fireplaces, new pajamas, woolly socks, fuzzy cushions and indulgent hot chocolate - hygge is about all those things that make you feel comfortable and at peace.
9. Get the party going
Sunday roasts are a must in our house but instead of a basic meal, we make a party out of it. Hygge is not about those fancy and rare occasions but the everyday simple acts that bring people together. Let's normalise having people over while the house is not in showroom condition! Life is better when family and friends are around.
10. Make your nest
We all have that favourite place in our home. Pick yours and Hygge that place up! Photos of family and friends that make you smile, candles and chunky knits make your hyggekrog - or cosy nook - a place you feel safe and comfortable to either be by yourself or enjoy the company of others. It's like a place in your house where you know you'll always feel good there. Mine is the couch by the bay window.