What is hygge? I have an inkling that this will be the latest buzzword in the world of wellness, so I thought it would be good to stay ahead of the curve and find out what it means, and how to adopt it into my lifestyle.
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that roughly translates into English as “a frame of mind free of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming, finding pleasure from the presence of soothing and gentle things”. I learnt this from Helen Russell during her talk at Stylist Live; Helen is a journalist and author who moved to Denmark and found their culture to be incredibly different to her native British one, with a better work-life balance, design-led consumption, and blunt honesty all making it the happiest nation on earth.
The meaning of hygge leaves quite a lot open to interpretation, and yet it feels more personal than mindfulness. The gist of it is the feeling of contentment, which can only come from stepping away from what keeps our eyes, hands, and minds busy, and taking stock of what we’ve got. It also links to nature, whether it’s a walk in the park, gardening, appreciating your houseplants, or eating big simple fresh meals, it’s all hygge.
What I really like about the concept is that it grounds all the actions I currently feel are not my most productive. I used to turn to knitting when watching television, as it kept my hands busy and away from snacks and double-screening. It’s almost paradoxical; overthinking moments that need no thinking at all.
Moments in which I find my hygge are varied: sometimes it’s a long hot bath, or when I light candles around my bed; sometimes it’s cooking dinner with friends, or clasping a hot cup of cocoa at Borough Market amongst the wild greenery as in the above photo. Whatever warms your heart, gives you a moment of headspace – that’s hygge.