The Month of Hygge

Friday, March 31, 2017

Have you heard of hygge?

Pronounced "hoo-guh," it seems to be the new buzz word floating around the internet lately. It's a Danish term describing a huge part of Scandinavian culture that's been around for centuries and has only recently begun to catch on in the States. So what exactly is it? That's what I asked myself when I heard the word used over the Christmas holiday and since I didn't want to feel out of the loop, I quickly downloaded the The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living and began investigating. Once I finished reading, I knew I'd be incorporating the concept into our lives in 2017. It fit right in with my theme of simplifying and I couldn't wait to get started.

Hygge is kind of hard to describe since there really is no direct translation in English, but the term, to me, depicts more of a feeling than a practice. It was coined to describe the coziness and togetherness that Scandinavians try to create and foster during the long, dark winter months. While it might seem pointless for me to be sharing this now that winter is coming to a close, I'm beginning to see more and more how hygge can become a part of daily life, no matter the season. It all boils down to something that I think many of us are longing for these days - contentment. 

To me, hygge is slowing down. Hygge is connection. Hygge is intentional living. It's often been associated with feelings of relaxation, gratitude, and peace. It's comfy socks, a crackling fireplace, a steaming cup of your favorite coffee. It's making a home-cooked meal with your family, setting the table with cloth napkins, lighting candles, and playing a vinyl record in the background. It's laughter and mindfulness and joy. It's paying attention to small details and the simpler moments in life, and when you finally try it, it's truly luxurious. 

So in keeping with our word for the year, my focus for the month of February was simplifying my routine. And this is exactly where I found the perfect opportunity to bring in a little hygge. 

At first, I made the mistake of listing all the things I wanted to change about my daily routine. I thought about the things that really mattered to me and came up with a schedule to fit them all in. I wanted to wake up earlier, find time to workout or do yoga for an hour, cook a healthy breakfast, make it to work on time and return home after a long day to cram in dinner, housework, homework, and reading before bed. Seriously? Ain't nobody got time for that. I realized that, realistically, "simplifying" my routine by swapping out old habits wasn't simplifying at all. After considering this, I decided instead to prioritize what was important and find ways to incorporate hygge throughout my day.

When I wake up now, I slide into my slippers, turn on my favorite playlist, light my Blue Cedar Fig candle, make a cup of tea, cuddle with the pup, and then slowly get ready for work. I prep my meals on Sundays so that I can eat a wholesome breakfast at work to ease into my day. I workout during my lunch hour to use my time most efficiently. When I get home, Mike and I cook together as Ella Fitzgerald sings us the most soulful melodies. We sip wine and eat at the table together, bundle up after dinner to take a walk with Archie, and then do our best to settle in for the night without TV (...most of the time). We read, play guitar, journal, and sometimes even play board games. (Mike's been teaching me how to play chess and I'm terrible but I enjoy making up names and voices for all the little pieces, so I guess it's a win-win?)

Don't get me wrong, though. We certainly aren't perfect and I still have moments where I'm rushing around, running late to work or where we've over-scheduled our evenings, but the goal we set was to try and make this our routine. Fortunately, over the last couple of months, we've had more days that followed the outline above than hectic ones, so we count that as a success.  

All I know is that these simple starts and ends to my day have made all the difference. Despite the short days, February was actually one of the best months I've had in long time. There's something to be said for slowing down, focusing on the parts our day that we often rush through, and trying to add little details to make them feel special. Normally around this time of year, I've reached peak exhaustion but I'm actually happier than I've ever been. Fingers crossed I can keep it going throughout the year and I hope that you are inspired to embrace hygge too!

Have you read any books about hygge or tried it yourself? Are you looking for simple ways to bring hygge into your life? Check out this article. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


  1. I'm definitely going to be checking this book out :)

    1. You'll love it! It's becoming more and more popular now in the US and there are a few other books out there too about it. Enjoy! :)

  2. I absolutely love this and I need to read that book. This is exactly what we have been trying (and minimally succeeding) in doing this year and I want to find a way to introduce it more often. Especially the getting up early and easing into the day. I totally get out of bed, shower, get dressed and am out the door. I never wake up early enough to actually enjoy the start of the day.

    1. I hope you enjoy the book! There are a bunch of others out there too, so you should check them out! And yea, it really helps to wake up slowly and relax with some of my favorite things, cozy in bed, before heading out the door. I feel like I have a whole different mindset!