Live The Cozy “Hygge” Life

Turn Your Home into a Sanctuary This Fall and Winter

The sun is setting earlier, and time change is quickly approaching (November 7, 2021).  It can be challenging as we transition our bodies and moods into a new season.  Some of us find ourselves missing the sunshine and even battling Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Did you know there are some wonderful ways to embrace and find joy in the season as well as improve our self-care?

Do you love curling up with a blanket, a cup of coffee, and a good book? You might be practicing Hygge without realizing it. It’s kind of the best thing ever. Hygge is a Danish cultural practice that focuses on living with a sense of comfort, coziness, and peace.  It has been described as, “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.”  According to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Denmark ranks first as the world’s happiest country.  Perhaps that stat can be attributed to Hygge?  Either way, our Danish friends are serious self-care pros.  The good news is you don’t have to live in Denmark to hygge up your life. 

There is a debate on the proper pronunciation of the word Hygge, either “hue-guh” or “hoo-gah,” but the aspect that intrigues me the most comes from the health benefits of living a Hygge style. Since we make sense of our experiences and environment using sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, it makes sense that creating a hygge’d living space would help us feel less anxious and promote emotional well-being. Health benefits could include lower stress, improved sleep, lower blood pressure, lowered cortisol, improved glucose levels, weight regulation, increased optimism… just to name a few.

Interestingly, hygge can mean something different to everyone, after all comfort is subjective. Maybe you are hunkered down with a soft blanket and a great book, that can be hygge. Perhaps you are looking through a window on a crisp, clear day and letting your face feel the warm sunlight, that can be considered hygge, too. More important than what hygge looks like is what hygge feels like.  Hygge can encompass your favorite lounge pants, coziest warmest socks, candlelight, soft blankets, bike rides, nature walks, stargazing, a warm cup of tea or cocoa, a long chat with family or friends, working a puzzle, creating art, making crafts, stew simmering on the stove… Hygge is just a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life.

Focus on the elements that are most impactful to you and what you find to be comforting and calming. It’s about being purposeful with the things you own and how you spend your time. When you choose to embrace hygge, it takes intentionality. Carve out technology-free time. Spend more time talking without distractions. Play more games. Read more books. Hygge is about more than just a cozy home. It’s a way of life. Livin’ la vida hygge. 

Previously published in the Hampton Guardian and Bluffton Today

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