How to Practice Hygge This Fall and Winter
It’s November — brisk winds are blowing, fall leaves are turning, and the holiday season is right around the corner.
The fall and winter months are best spent bundling up, wearing warm sweaters, sipping hot tea, and slowing down to stay cozy with family and friends. But did you know there’s a long-standing cultural practice that puts coziness at the center?
Enter the world of hygge.
Learn more about hygge, its history, and how you can incorporate it into your routine this fall and winter — maximum comfort and coziness, guaranteed.
What is Hygge?
Hygge, pronounced “hyoo-guh”, is a Danish idea that’s been around for centuries.
Hygge isn’t a specific set of practices but a value system that prioritizes “taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about — or even by yourself — to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.”
Any number of practices can constitute hygge, from spending time with family by the fireplace, sharing a mug of tea, or bundling up under a blanket.
It’s important to note, however, that coziness is at the heart of hygge.
Because Denmark spends much of the fall and winter months in cold, dark environments, its citizens prioritize being as cozy as possible. It makes sense, then, that time together should be in a warm, well-lit, and cozy environment.
In the U.S., there’s been a surge of interest in hygge, with an assortment of hygge-branded candles, blankets, and clothing lines hitting the shelves. At its root, though, hygge isn’t about buying items — but embracing a way of life.
Clearly, that way of life is effective. Denmark is considered the second-happiest country in the world (right after Finland). We can safely say that much of it has to do with hygge.
So how can you add more hygge to your life?
How to Create a Hygge Home
Because hygge typically happens in the home, you should start here.
A few quick fixes to your home can promote a more warm and welcoming environment, and it can keep you cozy during the colder months. Here are a few things to try:
- Warm lighting: Replace harsh, bright lighting with warm lighting. Soft, dimmable lamps and candles can add a layer of warmth and set an intimate ambiance in your home.
- Textiles and comfort: Try to incorporate plush textiles (think throw blankets, fluffy pillows, and cozy rugs) in your home. You might also want to add natural materials like wool, cotton, and faux fur for a more “natural” feel.
- Natural elements: Incorporate elements from nature, like wooden furniture and potted plants, to bring the outdoors back in during the colder months.
- Personal touches: Put personal mementos, photographs, and sentimental items on display. They can create feelings of nostalgia and add to your comfort.
- Clutter-free spaces: Simplify your living area by decluttering and organizing. A tidy and uncluttered environment can help you spend less time stressing and more time getting cozy.
Activities That Inspire Hygge
Hygge isn’t just about the way you decorate your home, but the practices that you do in it. Here are a few hygge activities to try out:
- Cozy reading: Reading is a quintessential hygge activity and one of the best ways to create a sense of coziness. Make your own reading corner with a comfortable chair, soft blankets, and a small side table for your favorite books.
- Crafting and DIY: Creative activities like knitting, painting, or DIY home decor can be very soothing in the colder months. Consider taking up a new hobby and making your space even cozier with handmade items.
- Board games and puzzles: Hygge is best practiced with those you love. Gather your friends and family for an evening of board games, puzzles, or card games. This can give you an opportunity to interact, connect, and bring out your competitive spirit.
- Baking and cooking: Spend quality time in the kitchen making warm teas, homemade treats, and family recipes. The satisfaction of sharing a meal with loved ones can be a great way to promote a hygge atmosphere.
- Music: Music is another great tool to inspire comfort. Spend some time making a playlist with smooth jazz, relaxing tunes, and any other music that you love.
- Fireside chats: If you have a fireplace, spend some time talking with friends and family around it. The fire can add much-needed warmth in your home — literally and figuratively.
How to Promote a Hygge Mindset
At its core, hygge isn’t about what you do — but how you feel.
More than the way you decorate your home or the activities that you do in it, you can inspire hygge in all seasons, spaces, and places by getting in the right frame of mind.
Here are some tips to do it:
- Take a digital detox: In the digital age, it can be hard to take a break. Consider setting aside specific times each day to disconnect from your tech. This can allow you to fully immerse yourself in offline activities and be present.
- Practice mindfulness: Incorporate simple mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing exercises, in your daily routine. Taking slow, deep breaths can help calm your mind and reduce stress, making it easier to appreciate the small joys of life.
- Try meditation: Practice meditation with a hygge twist. Focus on sensations like the warmth of your hands, the flow of your breath, or the comfort of your surroundings to supplement your practice.
- Prioritize time with those you love: The colder months can breed feelings of isolation, so connection is more important than ever. To combat these feelings, call up an old friend, grab a cup of coffee, or host a dinner party to make sure you’re getting the time you need together.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Start a daily gratitude journal where you jot down things you're thankful for. It can be something as simple as a good meal, a kind gesture from a friend, or a nice walk in nature. Regularly reflecting on these moments can enhance your sense of gratitude and improve your overall well-being.
The Danish art of hygge is all about setting aside time to get cozy, get comfy, and spend quality time with yourself and those you love.
What better time to try it than in the fall and winter months?
Whether it’s bundling up with a good book, putting on a nostalgic film, or chatting with friends around the fire, there are many ways you can practice hygge. In turn, you can fight off the winter blues and feel more confident, comfortable, and connected.
How will you practice hygge this season?