What Actually IS "HYGGE"? Dissecting My Latest Obsession

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to have a platform where I can just talk about a latest obsession of mine. I mean at this point my flatmates, Gino and my family are sick to death of me talking about the topic of "hygge" but here I can talk away at my hearts content, comforted by the fact you guys can simply click away once I've rambled on too much. Well, I hope that doesn't happen as "hygge" is something to be super excited about! And the funny thing is, "hygge" is something most of you have all experienced before!

I know that apprehension you have right now, "is Luke going to tell us about another self-help book?", "is this just another fad circulating social media at the moment?". Don't worry, I get it. When I first saw people discussing "hygge" I was like, well here go, I give it five minutes before someone is describing something as "hyggeAF". Whereas now, I am so close to creating that saying, as a hashtag. HAHA! Since I have been spamming my social media feeds with the book I recently read "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking I have received a number of questions about what "hygge" is. I thought in this post I would skim the surface a bit to let you guys get a taste for what it is, and then talk about my experience with it! That sound good? Great! Let's do this!

The concept of "hygge" originates from Denmark and can be translated to "the art of creating intimacy", "cosiness of the soul" "well-being". It has been translated in many ways and some people believe we have a word for it in English but it is an entirely Danish concept. The pronunciation is something I struggled with, thinking you pronounced it like "HIKE" but with a G, WRONG. "Hygge" is pronounced = (hoo-gah)! In the beginning I could not wrap my head around the correct pronunciation and mentally continued to butcher the correct way by instead saying "hug-ie" or "hi-guh" but after a while, it settled in. I take the word "hygge" to mean in English, simply = the feeling we get when we're all snuggled up (with blankets, pillows, oversized clothing), with our favourite film on the TV, candles lit, surrounded by fairy lights and its raining outside. We all know that feeling right? Well that is essentially what "hygge" is. 

Correct! "hygge" is all about finding joy in the simpler things in life, and when you really open yourself to the concept, you begin to understand the euphoric joy it brings. I used the example above as to what the translation to English for me is. But it can be that feeling when you find a small boutique coffee shop, or the feeling the get around Christmas. It can be the feeling when you're having beers in the garden with friends whilst cooking in the garden. Its the feeling of reading a new book in a little nook of your house (or as the Danes call it: a "hyggekrog"). It's the feeling of coming in from work, shoving on your favourite hoodie and cooking some food. There are so many things we enjoy doing that the Danish call "hygge", the difference being that they have a word for it, and as a society, actively seek it!

An almost instant way of creating "hygge" is by lighting candles. Candles are voted as the most "hygge" thing you can do to create that environment or feeling. If you're someone like me who wholeheartedly agrees with me, you will always have a candle burning. They instantly chill me out and just makes my room that little bit more cosy. Other things you can add is fairy lights. Light is the most important aspect of creating "hygge", you don't want any piercing bright lights, you want to create a soft glow or little bursts of light in different parts of the room. 

Another aspect of "hygge" is good foods and treating yourself. January may not seem like the perfect time to start perfecting the art of "hygge" if you are trying to start a new diet. But "hygge" foods are all about treating yourself, so maybe on your day off of the diet, treat yourself to something sweet or some home-baking. Home-baking and home-cooking are another way in which to create "hygge", its enjoying the process and really putting time and focus into creating something. Gino and I as of lately have loved doing some home-cooking and it has not only been helpful economically as we attempt to save more but we have also really enjoyed spending time together whilst creating a meal! Give it a go! Nothing feels better than filling the house with smells of home-baking and home-cooking. 

YES! The entire concept of "hygge" surrounds finding contentment in the smaller things. Materialism doesn't really have a place in the concept. Of course it helps, especially when you're wanting that huge fluffy blanket you saw in West Elm the other day, or that new hardcover book from Barnes & Noble that just came out. But you can create "hygge" entirely low-budget, and that is the beauty of it. A way in which I love to create "hygge" is by going out for an hour, whether it be for a run or a huge walk around the neighbourhood, coming home, putting on the fairy lights, getting cosy and watching a show on Netflix. This weekend has been the perfect time for me to do this as "A Series of Unfortunate Events" was released on Netflix and I am OBSESSED! Try it, you will instantly feel this sense of content and cosiness, and that my friend, is "hygge"

There are plenty ways you can read up on "hygge" online for free but I completely suggest the book "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking. Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. After Denmark repeatedly being voted the happiest country in the world, I trust his judgement. Not only does his book delve into the research he has done on the benefits of exploring "hygge" but the book contains many wonderful "hygge" recipes, methods on creating "hygge" on a budget and why the Danish are so happy! Not only that, but as the year begins to roll in, it makes for a really great start to the year, make your 2017 a year for all things that make you happy!

You can find the book here! I actually got mine from Waterstones when I was in London but you can find it at your local bookstore along with many other books on "hygge"! Not only that but the books make GREAT gifts for friends! 

I hope you all enjoyed this blog, a little different than my usual posts, but I really enjoyed answering your questions and sharing what I've discovered within my exploration of "hygge". I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and that you have a wonderful week!

Nev x

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