Hygge: The Art of Enjoying Life’s Simple Pleasures

2018 has begun at a rampant pace for some of us. Perhaps it’s been filled with scheduling, or organizing, or maybe even some solid goal setting for how you want to see the year unfold for you and yours. Whatever is filling up your days and crowding up thoughts, I want to share with you an idea that can slow things down and help you enjoy a little bit more out of life. It’s Hygge. Hahaha try and say that one out loud! It’s actually pronounced HUE-GAH…easier, right?
Hygge is a Danish word that is literally filling up the Pinterest and blog worlds with all sorts of wonderful images. It is a word that does not translate straight into english, but can be described as an essence. Essentially, hygge is the Danish word for the art of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Maybe the english translation should be “stop and smell the roses.” Actually, it is not about stopping dead in your tracks, but about adding to your day and your environment in a way that helps you enjoy more in life!
Honestly, we live in a world forced into stress. A culture of stress, if you will. Our phones are always at our side and we typically do not allow ourselves time to breath, let alone think. Hygge is a mindset, and even an art form, that we can all take on to help us enjoy the moment we are in, and to give our minds some peace in a hectic world that values multi-tasking and the instantaneous.
Hygge in Your Environment

A significant element of hygge is cosiness. I am sure most of you are fans of candles. It’s a given that candles make your environment feel warm and inviting. Perhaps you routinely light a candle in the evening when it is time to unwind. Or perhaps you have a couple of battery operated candles on a timer. Well, Danes take this to another level! Not only do they use candlelight more often than Americans or any other European country, but they burn more than one candle at a time. Rather, they love to embrace the cosiness and warmth created by the flicker of multiple candles. Heck, they even use candlelight to bring hygge into the workplace, lighting a candle in the office in the morning and allowing it to burn all day. It’s crazy, but a small flickering flame can do wonders to spirit and mind. Why not give it a whirl yourself?

You can add that cosiness in layers, by adding some twinkle lights outside of the holidays, and indulging in some snuggie blankets that can be grabbed whenever the desire strikes!

Hygge Activities

This can and will look different for everybody. Remember, hygge is the art of enjoying the simple pleasures! For me, that is taking a moment to read an actual book that sits in my hands, turning the pages like an old friend. The most important part, is to mark off some time to do this guilt free. Allowing yourself to be transported by the written word without the to-do list creeping into the crevices of the mind.

Hygge also means creating and using my hands. Taking time to “indulge” in knitting or crocheting quiets my mind and allows for stress to melt away. The repetitive motion is like a sweet melody to my soul, and the soft yarn working between my fingers makes me feel grounded. I cannot help but let my mind wonder to the sheep and the dyes that went into making my fluffy strands.

Hygge is Time with Family

The to-do list is always very real and very present. Look at your days, and your weeks, and find time to enjoy the simple pleasure of family. Get crafting or play some board games! It is time spent that you with NEVER regret! Sometimes, it is way to easy to sacrifice time with our loved ones because we expect them to understand how much much we have on our plate. Shake that thinking up a bit. Hygge doesn’t have to mean that things on your list do not get done, it simply means that those things may take a skosh longer or be a bit delayed. Taking that time is an incredible investment in your overall health….as a family and as a person!

Hygge Means Savour

Make room for a little indulgence. With the the new year, everyone is so ready to put aside the extravagant and naughty treats of the holidays. I know that I personally went overboard! Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, that overindulgence is a sign of imbalance the rest of the year? Hygge is allowing yourself to treat yourself. If you eat healthy day-in and day-out, it is good for you to take a moment here and there to enjoy the simple pleasures of food!

Here is the caveat: you need to be fully present. That means, do not just down with an ice cream sundae while watching a movie, or eating cookies on the drive home. Nope. It means make it special. Make some cocoa, have a little piece of fudge, but do it seated and relaxed. Savour the chocolate and enjoy each bite. You will find that being present will let you enjoy the treat, while not falling prey to mindlessly overindulging.

If sweets are not your jam, try the tactile experience of making some jam or bread from scratch. Kneading dough is an amazing stress relief, and the smell of fresh bread baking away will transport your home to a whole other level of hygge. When you pull out of the oven a beautifully browned, even if misshapen, loaf of bread…you cannot help but feel a little bit of pride and some homestead satisfaction. Go ahead and use some butter. Fresh bread deserves butter LOL

Gardening and Hygge

I do not know about you, but getting my hands in the dirt and helping things grow is just life-giving, plain and simple. There is something about tuning your thoughts to the needs of other living things that just purges your mind of anxious thoughts and allows you to focus. I always feel like a kid when I garden. It does not matter what your level of expertise, just get your hands dirty and enjoy one of the simplest pleasures of life! A little sunshine and fresh air are the kind of medicine in life that makes for lasting effects. Have you ever read The Secret Garden?  Enough said.

Hygge Means Enjoying Friendship

One of the simplest pleasure in life is friendship. Like spending time with family, we can also tend to put off spending time with our friends in our quest to get stuff done! Yes, you can totally multi-task by getting your booty in shape while investing in friendship on a hike. However, there is a time when you need the balance of intentionally setting aside time to invest in your friendship. Be an excellent listener! And if there happens to be a warm fire, then your get extra hygge kudos! Hey, why don’t you triple down and pour out a couple cups of tea! Remember, hygge is an art form for enjoying life 😉

I think that we can constantly be on the quest for a balanced life…and that can often times turn into the feelings of guilt and inadequacies. In the new year, I am simplifying by looking at how to create hygge in my daily life. I am completely open to how that looks from day to day. There may be days that I feel like a rockstar, but I am more than “ok” with the possibility that it may simply be a day where all I can do is light some candles and snuggle under a blanket while I work away on the computer. Regardless, I am ready for hygge. I hope that this inspires you to discover how to enjoy life in 2018. I wish you a year filled with cosiness, relationships, and creativity!