During the holidays, we often focus on others and don’t use the “break” as an actual time to rest! Understanding the concept of “hygge” can be a way for you to harness some peace and appreciation, and nourish your spirit through the hustle and bustle of one of the most beautiful (but often crazy) seasons of the year.
In 2016, “Hygge” was named the word of the year by Oxford Dictionary. This Scandinavian word doesn’t directly translate to English, but is trending as a way to describe moments we love to feel during the holiday season. Scandinavian countries rate highest on happiness surveys worldwide, yet are enveloped in cold and darkness for half of the year, hygge or hyggelig is part of their secret to staying positive and bright!
The term relates to an appreciation for life’s comforts that can bring us great joy. So, both places and moments can be hygge, as well as the things we love. And while it does not belong to objects or specific situations, it is a feeling often brought on by items or experiences.
A loose translation is that it’s a way to feel warmth in your spirit, not physically. It exists in times when we focus on appreciation and happiness. This is why you can bring a mood of hygge into your life through gratefulness.
Cuddling up with a loved one while watching a movie can be hygge. Eating “comfort foods” and spending time in a beautiful restaurant can be hygge. Bundling up in your favorite scarves and nursing a good book can be hygge. Snuggling with pets, cooking a fun meal, or simply lighting some candles can be hygge.
But this word does not only describe moments in the home, nor of extravagance. Yes, indulgence can be wonderful, but hygge is more about taking a moment to slow down and enjoy!
So, this winter break, think about the things that make you feel bright on the inside. Harnessing happiness in simplicity during the darkest months of the year is a necessary art!
Hone your understanding and practice of hygge with some new books from the library:
The Little Book of Hygge : Danish Secrets to Happy Living
by Meik Wiking
How to Hygge : the Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life
by Signe Johansen
Overwhelmed : Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
by Brigid Schulte