Autumn is fast approaching and the mornings are already a little chillier. Enjoy the last golden days of summer with a final splash in the pool and a quick braai. Then pack up your patio sets, wrap your plants in frost blankets and bring yourself inside. The falling leaves signal it. The frosty mornings whisper it. Now is the time for Hygge!
I think we can learn a thing or two from the Danes. What is it, how do you practice it, and most importantly, HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE IT?
According to the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, you don’t say Hygge – you feel it.
So, whether you say “Hooga” or “Heugah” isn’t the point. In fact, stressing about something as mundane as pronunciation definitely isn’t hyggelik. Hygge, simply put, is a feeling of comfort. And of serene safety. Hyggekrog is a feeling of awareness and acceptance of your surroundings, and enjoyment of small luxuries. It means cosiness. Furthermore, it invites cuddles and snuggles. This lifestyle murmurs of fresh popcorn and a movie on a Sunday night, pancakes on a rainy day, and coffee and a good book in bed on a frosty morning. “Hygge” or “Hyggelik” was initially coined as a term to explain this feeling in Denmark where winters are long, dark and cold, and summers are fleeting and wet.
For Danish people and actually most Northern Europeans – the concept has migrated all throughout the continent, Hygge has a few main aspects that translate to everyday life. Let’s discuss two aspects today: Home and Togetherness.
Even in the middle of winter most of South Africa gets at least eight hours of sunlight each day and our winters are never quite as harsh as those in Denmark. The frosty bite of a Freestate morning can, however, still leave you yearning for an extra fluffy pair of wool socks and a hat that covers your ears. To bring Hygge to the chilliest days of the year, stock up on good books, your favourite food, happy music with chill vibes, blankets, cushions and throws to turn your living room into Hygge heaven. Look for luxurious textures like furs, thick. knits and velvet. Add some sassy loungewear in muted colours, warm slippers and a scented candle, and you’ll be ready to face even the harshest South African winter with a smile.
Find Your Hyggekrog
Part of making your home more hyggelik is dedicating certain areas as a “hyggekrog”. Basically, this means a nook or corner where you can live your best Hygge life, away from distractions or mood spoilers. Find a spot with good lighting and no chilly draft, set up a chair or sofa, add a cosy throw and mug on. Maybe treat yourself to a special pot plant or candle to make it your own. Find your Hyggekrog knits and velvet. Add some sassy loungewear in muted colours, warm slippers and a scented candle, and you’ll be ready to face even the harshest South African winter with a smile.
– No shoes! (Only thick woollen socks are allowed in winter)
– BYOB. (Bring Your Own Book)
– Remember your warm drink.
– Don’t forget to unplug! (Blue light is not hyggelik!)
– Everyone deserves a Hyggekrog.
If you share your home with kids or a partner, make sure each person has their own little hyggekrog to retreat to and find some hyggelike peace. For children, this space can become a safe zone where they can go to calm down and regulate their own emotions.
The Second Aspect of Hygge is: Togetherness.
As mentioned before, Hygge is a feeling. It’s more than just buying candles and throwing blankets and pillows around. It’s a strong sense of self-appreciation and acceptance. Hygge is not dieting.
Practising Hygge is eating healthy because you love and care for your body. You should not force relationships that no longer bring you joy. It’s being brave enough to escape into the solitude of your own hyggekrog to become your own best friend. It certainly is not yearning for a bigger better and more expensive something. You observe it by lighting a candle and reading a book. This movement is simple, and it’s necessary. Take our advice and spend this winter together. Together with your loved ones, yes, but also with your own thoughts and emotions. Take time to really sift through your reasoning, your habits and your lifestyle. Embrace Hygge this winter, truly be together with your inner-self. Come springtime, what felt like a hibernation will turn out to be the head start you needed for the next chapter of your life.