I was first introduced to this word last winter in an online women's group. We earned "merit badges" for doing random things. One merit badge was the "hygge" merit badge. I had to look up what hygge was.
Somehow having a word to describe this deep seated aspiration of mine gave my aspiration some legitimacy. Let's be honest....when we want to read books by the fire, we often have to claim a "mental health break" in order to legitimize this desire. Hygge is the solution to living more in line with our desires to choose gratitude, simplicity and contentment.
So, how exactly does one hygge?
Everyone feels coziness and contentment differently, but a guiding principle is: use your senses.
This past week I've been playing some soft cafe music- autumn jazz style- on the t.v. My husband, who is usually very driven and busy kept wondering into the living room and just sitting on the couch. He couldn't even identify at first what it was about the environment that felt different. He just liked the way it felt.
Finding a comfort station that plays soft jazz or beautiful classical music can help lay the foundation of hygge for your home, car, or workplace.
When you walk in your home, what is the first thing you smell? Yesterday when I walked in my house after picking the kids up from school, the house had this amazing smell of butternut squash soup and lingering pancakes from breakfast. It was divine.
My house doesn't always smell divine, but when it does I really try and breathe it in. It's what the smell represents.... yesterday it represented the preparation of a meal in anticipation of eating together as a family....very hygge.
Candles, blankets, fireplace, dimmed lights, a loved pet, your family. When you walk into your home after a long day, what is it that you most want to see?
I heard one man in his own honest, soft spoken way simply say "When I come home, I most want to see my wife smiling with a sense of love in her eyes."
Even if we don't have a home that looks magazine worthy, we can cultivate a genuine smile and a look of love for those who walk through our door.
It's my belief that this alone will do more for the feeling of comfort and warmth in our homes than any amount of cleaning, organizing, or decorating we can do.
Sure, we like order, we like clean, but if your kitchen faucet has sprung a leak and you've emptied the cabinet of cleaning supplies and heavens knows what else has been lurking under that sink-- when that is happening on top of homework help and dinner prep-- you still have the capacity to offer the most beautiful sight to your family.... a genuine smile.
Do you have a pair of favorite slippers? I do. I have bought 3 pairs of these over the last 10 years. I love the way they keep my feet warm without suffocating them. They are simple black ballet flats from Isotoner. Here is a pic of my favorite slippers, in one of my favorite places.
What clothes do you wear when you want to feel that sensation of comfort and contentment? Maybe it's pj's, maybe it's a favorite sweater. I bet you have something, even if you haven't intentionally connected it to the idea of touch--there is a reason you like the way it feels on your body.
When you put this item on next, take a moment to just tap into how it feels. Enjoy it. Be grateful for it!
Hygge wouldn't be complete without including taste. Warm drinks, delicious soups, homemade baked goods. The phrase "comfort foods" is exactly what this aspect of hygge is all about.
What comfort foods do you enjoy? What are the common themes? For me it is usually something warm and homemade. Homemade bread with strawberry freezer jam paired with a cup of herbal tea is pretty high on my hygge worthy list
As the winter months begin to descend upon us, this is the perfect time to practice hygge.
Creating a blank slate for learning about what you like is important. Forget what Hallmark movies show you. Stop scrolling though Pinterest and TikTok eyeing everyone else's version of hygge and get busy discovering your own - crafting and creating and owning your own version of hygge.
Hygge on friends!
Love, light, and laughter to you all!
Certified Meditation Facilitator