“When you live with less your life becomes more than you imagined”
Hello Friends, Today I want to share 10 Ways to Hygge for when the night’s come early. Hygge is the feeling you get when you spend time with people you love or alone. You enjoy the simple pleasures: a warm home cooked meal, a fun game night, telling stories or sharing old photos. It’s about making the moment and the environment you’re in special, it’s about being present.
I’ve strung fairy lights in the kitchen and on the bar and when the sun sets, I dim the lights and bask in the warm glow. It’s barely 5pm and it’s pitch dark . A chill wind blows in from the cold Pacific; a storm is coming. When sunset comes early, it can seem natural to feel that the day is over. For some it can be difficult, especially when they’ve left for work in the morning in the dark and come home in the dark. There are ways however to make the best of long dark nights. This is where Hygge comes in. There is one definition for Hygge that dates back to the Middle Ages and means “Protected from the outside world”, I like that. When it’s dark and cold outside, creating a comforting lair can help lift your spirit and make the long nights a thing to enjoy.
So, let’s get cozy.
10 Ways to Hygge
1. Creating an Atmosphere
Creating a relaxing space is the first thing. Candles, music and the right lighting is of the utmost importance. The simpler the better. We have dimmers on our light switches at home so we can choose how bright or moody we want the lighting to be. Candles set an warm atmosphere like nothing does. If you don’t have a fireplace, the next best thing are candles. I personally love scented candles and in November I burn Wood Fire scented candles for that cabin- in-the-woods vibe. If you don’t like scented candles, plain white pillars or pure beeswax give off a warm glow. I also use tea-lights in beautiful glass tumblers and place them everywhere: on the t.v stand, in the kitchen and the coffee table. For music, Jazz is my first choice but artists like Enya, Sting, Sade or Loreena Mackennitt are some of my favourites to listen to.
Hygge is all about comfort so put on your favourite flannel P.J’s and chenille socks, pull out the softest blankets you own for the bed or couch and sink into plush pillows to hunker down and watch your favourite cozy movie.
During the Autumn and Winter I put out the Jenga game on the coffee table. We’ve been known to keep one game going for days. Games are a fun way to connect, laugh and be in the moment, away from phones or the t.v. My husband is super competitive so it’s always fun to beat him! Every Christmas I like to pick up a puzzle. We set it up on the end of our dining room table and take a few days putting it together. I have a large collection of Tarot cards and sometimes over dinner, I’ll pull them out and give us a reading. If you live alone, invite a neighbour over for afternoon cookies and tea or set a time to zoom call with a family member to catch up on life.
Hygge is about slowing things down and a great way to relax is by doing something that makes you feel good. Who doesn’t like to eat? Bake or cook something and take pleasure in preparing it. Have snacks handy to enjoy. I keep homemade energy bites in the fridge for a healthy sweet snack and last Holiday Season I made a party mix with Chex-Mix, cheesies and peanut butter filled pretzels which were a hit. One of my favourite ways to relax is having a bath. Add some Epsom Salts and a few drops of your favourite Essential Oil and you’re ready for a deeply relaxing soak. I can’t think of anything more Hygge than a bath followed by putting on my coziest p.j’s and enjoying some home baked cookies with tea before bed.
The entire concept of Hygge comes from Scandinavia, specifically from Norway (where my husbands ancestors were from) so I like to decorate the home in the simple, clean lines popular in Scandinavian homes. The key to this style is cools tones, textures like faux furs and bringing organic materials like stones and foliage in from the forest. See my Scandinavian inspired decor blog. Clearing clutter and letting in natural light are simple ways to create a serene environment too.
I enjoy reading and it’s very important to me to hold a real book in my hands. It gives me pleasure to feel the paper and bookmark my chapter with a leaf I picked up on a forests walk near home. In Iceland there is a tradition on Christmas Eve where people gift each other books then spend the rest of the evening reading. That sounds like bliss to me and very Hyggelig.
7. Spend Time in Nature
I walk every day and I feel so lucky to have woods near my home that I can go to in minutes. Forest Bathing is a Japanese concept said to have many benefits including lowering blood pressure and mental health. I like to walk slowly, taking in every detail: the leaves on the ground, the bark on the trees, squirrels foraging for food and taking some slow deep breaths. Spend time in Nature, take photos or find cedar boughs, leaves or stones you might want to bring back home to join the outdoors in.
8. Go To Your Favourite Coffee Shop or Restaurant:
Hygge isn’t just about staying home. It’s a feeling so if there is a place you like to visit, perhaps an old bookstore or a restaurant with cozy booths and great food, this is a another way to Hygge. On Sundays, when my husband is watching Football, I grab a book and walk over to my local coffee shop and enjoy an hour reading and sipping a warm drink.
9. Practice Gratitude
I keep 2 journals. One is for what I call “brain dumps”, I write anything and everything that comes to my mind. This is a great mental health exercise if you’re someone who overthinks or keeps things bottled up inside, its a way to get it all out of your mind so you can refocus on the present moment. My second journal is solely for Gratitude. I write in it almost every morning after my meditation practice. Giving thanks is the easiest way to boost your mood as it makes you appreciate even the smallest things you may not usually notice and see them as a blessing. Try it.
Indulging in a hobby is a great way to unwind and focus on right now. I play the piano and enjoy writing and photographing this blog. What hobbies do you enjoy? No excuses allowed, you are not too busy to gift yourself a moment either each day or once a week to knit, paint or take that pottery class you’ve been talking about.
And there are my 10 Ways to Hygge. I hope you’ve enjoyed them and that you might incorporate some into your daily life. Years ago, when I lived alone, I’d make it a point on my days off to not look at the time. I’d sleep until I felt like getting up, I’d eat when I was hungry, I’d go for long walks in the forest or on the beach and I’d go to bed in the evening when I felt sleepy. When I’d return to work, I’d feel like I had been on a week-long vacation. Hygge can be as simple as sitting in silence for a little while and just being.
Happy November friends.