I was throwing a yellow, plastic ball back and forth with my favorite 9 year old – playing our made up version of volleyball, which is basically just aggressively passing the ball at one another, when she randomly asked me, “Mna, do you know what Hygge is?” Well, no, I didn’t… Was I supposed to know? I thought it sounded maybe like a hug or something of that sort. She explained to me that it sort of was. “It’s like like a big hug of life.” And so, I thought “Okay, interesting.” So, then she then she insisted I sit down while she pulled out her mom’s laptop, typed in Pinterest, and searched “Hygge.” Then, the pictures and quotes started popping up. Pictures of warm beverages and cozy blankets, of rainy Sundays and cinnamon apple muffins. I was instantly hooked.
Hygge (hoo-gah) (n) The art of building a sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive; A coziness of the soul; Comfort and contentment.
Hygge is a danish word but a universal lifestyle. Sadly, a lifestyle which we often forget to practice. Because we’re so consumed by our intense work overload and achieving our definition of ultimate success – one that will take place 5 years from now, we neglect how we should and how we do feel now, in the present. We ignore comfort because it is considered “lazy,” and we lose a sense of belonging because we are too caught up with our feeds to give our own selves some attention and love. So this autumn, let’s not forget: let us live, love, and hygge.
Now, I am not saying you should completely abandon your goals and be a couch potato for the next few months. Not at all, actually. I know I definitely won’t be, but I am trying to sell you the idea of having a balanced everyday life. Yes, work hard for your future, but also be comfortable and content in the moment that you are living in now. And what better way to start this practice than during the coziest season of all?
My hygge is:
1. A bunch of pillows, a huge, cozy, knitted throw, and sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Clearing my mind and spending breakfast in bed with a good book that takes me to a different time and place.
2. Movie night with my boyfriend, drinking hot chocolate, and eating warm soft chocolate chip cookies. Enjoying his presence and the warmth in between his arms.
3. Planning a trip away with close friends at a house with a fireplace, filled with board games and heartfelt conversations.
4. Wearing my over-sized mohair turtle neck sweater with a pair of worn in jeans and going for a walk by the waterfront on a crisp, autumn morning.
5. Coffee and scones with my family at our favorite coffee shop.
6. Binge watching New Girl with junk food surrounding me.
7. Listening to a jazz playlist while scrolling though Pinterest, Tumblr, or a coffee table book.
8. Sitting alone at a park with my journal, free writing my thoughts.
9. Disconnecting from social media for a few hours a day, a full day, or even an entire week.
10. Hosting a potluck dinner party with candles lit everywhere and fresh flowers on the table.
11. Painting (even thought I am nowhere near good) canvases for my room.
12. Going plant shopping to grow my indoor garden.
13. Making it to Friday prayer and lighting incenses.
14. Going out and buying fuzzy socks and big sweaters to wear for just lounging around the house.
15. Spending more time on self-care. More at-home hair masks, face masks, baths, and manicures.
And that is Hygge… Live for the moment. Live for today.