I always try to improve myself on every level I possibly can, which means that I need to be aware of what influences me and, most important, how it does that. Following the bullet journaling trend, I started to do something similar to it, but I decided to not be that dedicated to it and to try to keep it to a sketchbook/diary level. And when I started journaling at the beginning of this year, on my first page I scribbled 5 words on which I want to focus this year, and one of them was happy.
So I reached out to my good friend, the internet, and started researching everything I could find about happiness. This is how I stumbled on the concept of hygge and how it works.
Let’s get some context first
Hygge [which is pronounced as a combination between Hoo-Ga and Hue-Guh] is a word that basically means coziness. It can describe an action, a feeling, a state of mind or a place. All in all, it describes things that make you happy. This is my own, personal view on this concept, which for other people might mean something else, but for me, I attribute hygge to feeling happy.
Hygge is a tricky word to define, it’s a feeling, an experience, a sensation. It means creating a warm atmosphere. It is enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm amber glow of candlelight is hygge. Stomping through woods, wrapped up warm on a fresh Autumn day before returning to a fireside for hot cocoa is definitely hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too.
My primary weapon of knowledge when researching this topic was Meik Wiking’s Little Book of Hygge, in which he gives you the 101’s of how to live and feel hygge. This “little book” will help you find the tools to not only understand what hygge is, but also how to achieve it and what to expect from it. In the image below you can see the Hygge Manifesto that is welcoming you from the first pages of the book.
This 10-point manifesto urges you to create awareness around you, focus on the physical aspect around you and not on a screen, while learning to be grateful and enjoy life.
Gettin’ hygge with it
I am not going to go into details with what Meik says in his book, because I would rather tell you exactly how I applied hygge into my life, thus making me a happier person. First thing first, I started going online for real-life examples of people improving their life through hygge. I was very pleased to see how much hygge has spread worldwide and how many people are switching from their hectic life to this danish lifestyle. And most important, with real-life results.
So, I made a list:
I decided to start with a list of ‘ingredients’ and then with a list of ‘activities’ that people have praised for inducing a hygge feeling. I got myself a set of vanilla scented tealight candles, a pack of roasted almonds tea and hot dark chocolate from my favourite place in town. For the ambiental lights, I would have loved to find some christmas-y warm lights like you see in those tumblr bedroom pictures, but they were basically impossible for me to found since I just missed the holiday season. So I settled to a cute, gem-like night light (you can see it below) that has all the colours of the rainbow, thus inducing some pride vibes alongside the hygge ones. I did not buy any plants, due to the fact that I already have two cactuses at work and I would not want to make them jealous (plus I am known as a plant killer, so I try to minimize the number of victims).
Hygge @ Home
After I got my “DIY Hygge Kit” all together, I decided to actively practice hygge for a week. So I started doing my To Do list:
1. Take a candlelight bath
Being a person that only takes showers, this was one of the activities I was excited about. But the time was a challenge, because I had to extend my 15 minute shower with a 45 minute bath. In the end, this was a blessing in disguise, because I learned how to relax and how to eliminate stress. Also, bath bombs and Friends help too.
2. Read in my nook
I have two big armchairs in my home, but I have never used them as a reading space. I usually do my reading during my tram rides to work or before going to sleep. So I tried to actively read more in one of the nooks and guess what: I’m already 1 book ahead of my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge.
I am big fan of practicing apartment yoga. So when I saw meditation on the list of activities hygge-like, I got really excited. Meditation was already on my list for 2018 stuff I want to try out, so I went straight to download the Headspace app. The app is free, but you only have access to around 2% of the content in it, so for a week of meditating it was just perfect. Meditation helped me reduce some work anxiety that I had built up and helped me become more self-aware of my body and mind.
4. Draw / Paint
I love to doodle and draw, and it was always one of my favourite activities. But since I dived straight to adulthood and into the 9-to-5 vertigo, I had putaway my crayons and paints. But now I have resurrected them and started drawing again. Since there are only 24 hours in a day and I also had work and gym, to partake in this activity, I decided to use one of my beloved Christmas gifts, which was a set of colouring bookmarks. It takes around 15-30 minutes to complete one design, and you can use the finished product while reading in your nook.
5. Find a Hygge Playlist
Music is a really important part of hygge, especially when doing activities like drawing or meditating. Music is also a big, BIG part of my life, so I was super confident going into this activity. I browsed Spotify and found a plethora of playlists dedicated sloley to hygge, so I decided that me making a playlist is redundant since I found so many great ones on the platform. You can find two of my favourites here: one and two.
6. Watch your favourite movie.
I am not a movie person, I am more of a series binging kind of guy. But I do have a list of favourite movies, and my number 1 spot happens to be Weekend. This movie is a LGBT drama, starring Tom Cullen and Chris New, and it is a tear jerker if you really get involved in the action. Even though this movie has a sad vibe around it, I would totally recommend it as a bonding activity for you and your partner. This movie has romance, comedy, drama, and it also touches on serious social issues surrounding the LGBT community.
In the end…
What did I learn from this week worth of hygge? First of all, I became so much self aware of myself as a person. My focus shifted from doing stuff because I had to, to doing stuff because they made me happy. Second of all, I learned to spend time with myself by doing activities that I usually postpone. All in all, I don’t know if hygge made me more of a happy person, but practicing it did made happier. So I guess it worked on some levels!
I have also tried hygge at work, outdoor and while traveling, so keep an eye out for these articles if you want to know how I applied hygge in all my other parts of my life.
Will you try to hygge-fy your home? Did you try hygge already? Let me know in the comments below if you experienced this danish concept already and what part did you find most effective.
Thank you for reading!