I’ve recently come across the Danish concept of hygge. In English it roughly translates as ‘getting cosy’ or more accurately the art of being convivial and relaxed. The Danes claim to have invented hygge (pronounced hoo-gah or maybe hue-gah) and it’s currently a very trendy thing. There are nine new books available on the topic in the bookstores for Christmas.
Many of the books on how to do hyyge involve scented candles, open fires, chocolate, red wine and cake (all of which sound great to me) but on a more serious level, getting cosy is more about being kind and comforting to oneself. So whilst hygge is the trendy new thing and will result in many candles being purchased this Christmas, I must admit that I’m more than attracted to the idea of self care.
Self care is about being nice to yourself. Why wouldn’t you? It seems strange that we need to be reminded, but perhaps we do.
One of the nine books has been written by Charlotte Abrahams (definitely not a Dane) who writes…
“Hygge is about taking pleasure in the small things in life: having a cup of coffee; walking in the sunshine or spending time with loved ones. Hygge is about enjoying the moment and feeling content in that moment.”
It sounds very much like a rebranding of mindfulness, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Abrahams writes that hygge appeals to her because it’s not about denial, it’s about being generous with yourself as well as others. Of course being generous doesn’t mean overdoing the wine, the chocolate, or the cake, but it does mean treating yourself to a walk before work, or spending time with family and friends and generally easing up on yourself.
Hygge makes people nicer and happier. It’s about paying attention to what makes us feel open and alive and I can’t see how this could be a bad thing.
Here’s some more ideas on how to be more Danish.