Originating from a Norwegian word meaning ‘well-being’, the definition of Hygge is somewhat open to interpretation – at it’s simplest, it means a sense of cosiness, but this is only a fraction of it’s entirety. In practice, Hygge is a far more holistic approach to creating a sense of community, connection, and warmth; inviting closeness, and caring for ourselves & each other – it’s a feeling of balance cultivated in the spirit of ‘being’ not ‘having’, and an ethos that life should be savoured not survived…
Whilst Spring is firmly on it’s way, I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year the hardest. So this week, I wanted to share five thoughts to encourage you to think about how you might practice the art of creating Hygge, both inside and outside the home, and find positive ways to help diminish the winter blues at the same time….
\\ GO OUTSIDE
Creating a warm atmosphere doesn’t just have to be in the home. Give substance and meaning to the simplest occasion or activity and create a sense of camaraderie & contentment through shared experience of the simple things…gather friends for an easy going pub walk, try geo-caching together, or arrange a night walk ending with hot chocolate & blankets to wrap up in.
\\ FIND YOUR SANCTUARY
‘Hyggelig’ can mean to comfort oneself, or to be reflective. I believe it’s really important for us to allow ourselves time to idle, to dream, and to ponder…find a time and space where you can allow your spirit to catch up with your mind – try bathing by candlelight, have a mindful morning, be spontaneous and take a day trip to your favourite place, make something, exercise, or just sit quietly by the fire embers & allow your mind to wander before you go to bed. Whatever works for you to allow yourself to catch up.
\\ CHOOSE CONTENTMENT OVER PERFECTION
I’m fairly sure that not all Danish homes look like those we see on Pinterest or in magazines, but it’s well known that the Danes are very aware of design & put alot of care and attention into their spaces. It’s not all about being too perfectly arranged or having the latest thing: it’s about being mindful of what you have & what you choose, editing, and being intentional in your decor to create your own style, whatever your budget. Take care of what you have, be content in it’s imperfection, and foster a sense of pride in your home – your home is a reflection of you, and a home that feels cared for, open-hearted & unselfconscious feels cosy and welcoming to others, as well as being a happy place for you to be.
\\ OPEN YOUR HOME & SHARE A MEAL
We used to plan elaborate meals, and spend entire day(s!) scrubbing, cleaning & hiding stuff before allowing friends & guests to visit. These days, we’ve learnt that (whilst we did some kickass dining) the warmth & connection that comes from simply sharing good things with good people far outweighs the stress we used to feel before a visit, the rush & often disconnection of cooking in the moment, and the exhaustion afterwards. I still tidy now, of course, but I don’t seek perfection in the way that I used to. We both enjoy cooking, but we now choose meals that allow us to be present with our guests, and that are more about flavour & satisfaction than faff.
For a Hygge inspired evening, why not try a ‘Pot Luck’ supper (where each guest brings a contribution of their choice to the meal). Lighting candles & a posy from the garden on the table will add a cosy sense of occasion. You can create a sense of belonging & comfort by offering food (nibbles) and drink as soon as guests have settled; a feeling of community and sharing by saying ‘yes’ when they offer to assist in the preparations (ask them if they don’t offer!); and the opportunity to relax and find sanctuary by lingering over finished plates, savouring the meal & allowing deeper conversation to find it’s own opportunity to begin.
\\ MAKE TIME FOR MEETING UP
‘Hyggeligt’ means “pleased to meet you”, and is also used to describe a chance meeting that felt warm and convivial, or a cosy place.
It can be really easy to want to cocoon ourselves and hide away at this time of year. If having friends over feels too much right now, try seeking out a cosy cafe and meeting for a catch up & a hot drink. You can limit the time you are out so you don’t feel overwhelmed, and, whilst it may feel like an effort, getting out and sharing time with people you care about will almost certainly help boost your feelings of balance & well-being.
How do you cope with the winter blues? I’d love to know your thoughts on the concept of ‘Hygge’ x
The Everyday Spruce is a collaborative project between myself & Heather Young at Growing Spaces (see her last post here). To join in…simply use #theeverydayspruce to share your sprucing stories, ideas & tips on IG & Twitter, or write a blog post (tag us so we can find it) & we can share it on our joint Pinterest board.
#theeverydayspruce – simplify | clarify | beautify