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The Definitive Guide to Hygge

Embracing the Danish concept of cosy and simple living

MEIK WIKING

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

MEIK WIKING

Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy,” “coziness of the soul,” and “the absence of annoyance,” to “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,” “cozy togetherness,” and my personal favorite, “cocoa by candlelight”.

MEIK WIKING

Hygge: the pursuit of everyday happiness

Hygge: the pursuit of everyday happiness

Hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness – it's about finding joy in the experience of each and every day. It's about finding an appreciation for the small things that add huge value to our lives.

This appreciation manifests itself in Danish culture because hygge is also about togetherness and sharing. While you can experience hygge by yourself, the Danes put a lot of emphasis on spending time in intimate groups. The core ideas are around well-being, coziness, warmth, safety, intimacy, and gratitude.

Hygge, peace, and serenity

Hygge, peace, and serenity

  • Hygge is a Danish word that can be best described as enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It was created as a concept and lifestyle by the Danish in the 18th century and is now a fundamental part of their culture.
  • While the word is meant to encompass the Danish way of life, it also embodies their decor. The main idea of hygge decor is to create a peaceful, serene space that is free of clutter.
  • Clutter can cause stress, which is the opposite of the calming and happy way of the Danish lifestyle. Even though hygge is a concept that is commonly associated with winter, it was actually meant to be enjoyed year-round. 

How to hygge

Hygge is a Scandinavian way of life that spreads warmth and calm. It celebrates health and happiness and can be accomplished in other ways besides just decor. Here are some ways that you can incorporate hygge into your lifestyle:

  • Surround yourself with friends and family
  • Enjoy the simple pleasures
  • Be present and thankful
  • Stay an extra hour in bed
  • Barbeque outside
  • Reuse and recycle
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Don’t stress
  • Appreciate your surroundings
  • Enjoy a good book.

Stick to a neutral color scheme

Stick to a neutral color scheme

The color scheme for your home decor should never be too overwhelming when it comes to hygge.

Sticking to a neutral color palette is important when creating a relaxing space. Using pastel colors like light grays, browns, and creams will create a comfortable area for you and your guests to enjoy.

A happy country

Denmark is famous for being one of the happiest countries in the world.

It is known for being one of the most egalitarian countries in the world and its high levels of wellbeing are often attributed to its welfare system, where higher taxes provide free healthcare, school and university education, and government spending on children and the elderly is higher per capita than any other country in the world. 

Prioritise a work-life balance

The Danes have better work-life balance than anywhere else in the world, with only 2 per cent regularly working long hours (compared to an average figure of 13 per cent for other countries). 

All employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks paid holiday a year, and when Danes are at work, they often have flexible working environments. 

Appreciate the little things

Hygge is the Danish concept which involves creating a warm and contented atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with people you love. 

Hygge is about everyday happiness. It’s slowing down, being in the present moment and celebrating the simple pleasures in life. 

What do Danes say when things aren't so cosy?

What do Danes say when things aren't so cosy?

Danes, often hailed as some of the happiest people on Earth, love nothing more than to hygge. That could mean reading a book while snuggling in a blanket, or a cozy night in with loved ones, laughing in the velvety candlelight with a cup of hot chocolate, gløgg (mulled wine) or coffee, depending on the time of day and year.

Bun even they have rainy days. So what do they do, then, when there isn’t any help to be had from these cozy accompaniments? They say the magical word: ‘pyt’ [‘pyd’]. 

The meaning of Pyt

Pyt is used to express that you accept a situation is out of your control, and even though you might be annoyed or frustrated, you decide not to waste unnecessary energy on thinking more about it.

It is also used to comfort other people and diffuse unfortunate situations.

Pyt: curiosities

Pyt: curiosities

  • The power of 'pyt' had changed the atmosphere from potentially bleak to one of relief
  • 'Pyt' was chosen as the nation's favourite word, which is a reflection of Danes' desire to take it easy and relax.
  • Children at kindergarten and primary school use the word to diffuse a tense situation
  • Visitors to Denmark can buy their own version of the ‘pyt’ button
  • These red-and-white plastic buttons resemble the ones that contestants in TV game shows press when they have the right answer
  • Press it and you’ll hear the word “pyt,” reminding you to step back from the situation and refocus.

Benjamin Franklin

“Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

The happiest countries

The happiest countries

Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are ranked among the top happiest places in the world. 

Their population enjoys a healthy work-life balance, high standards of living with less pressure, less stress, and more time for everything they enjoy and love doing.

"Lagom"

"Lagom"

It's part of the Swedish culture. It means “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.

The concept encourages an overarching balance across our lives: everything in moderation.

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