Hygge is a Danish word nearly as fun to say (“hyoo-gah”) as it is to live. The term refers to a feeling of cozy contentment, encompassing activities like quietly reading a book before a roaring fireplace before settling in for a hearty second breakfast.
Such a concept might sound idyllic, but is it healthy? Embracing a hygge lifestyle helps keep stress hormone levels in check, curbing behaviors like compulsive overeating that can increase your heart disease and diabetes risk. It’s the perfect antidote to the modern grind.
What does it mean to live a hygge lifestyle? It encompasses much more than your decor, although that plays a role. Here are some additional tips for embracing your inner cozy.
Benefits of a Hygge Lifestyle
Modern lifestyles can take a toll on your mental health — ironically, technological connectivity leaves you more isolated than ever. Many report feeling disconnected, even in the same room as loved ones.
Conversely, a hygge lifestyle puts human connection above gadgets. Instead of feeling inadequate for not producing the perfect Pinterest-worthy cake, you prepare homemade goodies well before visits to family and friends, where you can see their reactions in real time. There’s more time for adding loving touches when you aren’t busy adding to Instagram.
This improved sense of connection with others that comes with embracing a hygge lifestyle could save your life. Loneliness can increase all-cause mortality as you age, but people too often forget the importance of social engagement on overall health when life gets too hectic.
8 Suggestions for Living a Hygge Lifestyle
Are you ready to embrace a hygge lifestyle? Here are eight suggestions to help you ease into a slower, cozier pace of life.
Pare Down Your Schedule
Does your weekly agenda leave zero wiggle room to simply be? If so, your first step in your hygge lifestyle journey is to pare down your schedule to allow breathing room.
Hygge is most compatible with slow living — a more conscious and meaningful approach to life than filling it with nonstop “busyness.” It’s not the same as being lazy. You still accomplish your goals, but you spend more time imbuing each task with meaning and mindfully tuning into your purpose instead of blindly rushing through one thing simply to get to the next.
Practice Daily Mindfulness
Mindfulness is key to a hygge lifestyle. After all, how can you know which simple pleasures delight you the most if you don’t tune into your experiences?
A daily mindfulness practice can be as simple as setting a two-minute timer on your watch or phone. When it sounds, use that time to stop and focus on your breath, nonjudgmentally observing each thought before letting it go. Is what you’re doing in tune with your desires? If not, adjust your course.
Focus on Your Senses
Hygge is all about sensual indulgences, like running your bare feet over a fluffy rug in front of a roaring fire while you sip your favorite herbal tea. One easy way to tune in is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise. This grounding technique also makes you aware of your senses as you list five things you can see, followed by four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste.
Then, delight them. What kind of background music would soothe your soul? What can you sip to warm you inside and out? How could you make yourself even one percent more comfortable? Do it!
Select Your Favorite Things
Even if you live in a studio apartment, you can still make it cozy, adding touches like layered rugs and fairy lights to create division between spaces and delight your senses. What things scream hygge? Consider adding the following accents:
- Books: Especially inviting coffee table numbers with pictures aplenty.
- Fragrance: Scented soy candles and aromatherapy misters can make your space smell like cinnamon and nutmeg, even if you don’t bake.
- Pillows and throws: For convenient book reading and napping.
- Houseplants: To keep your indoor air fresh.
Brainstorm With the Family
Unless you live alone, you must consider your loved one’s tastes when designing your hygge abode. Why not make it a family adventure?
Have each clan member brainstorm one way to make your space cozier. Then, hit the hardware or department store this weekend to make your visions a reality.
Prepare Like a Squirrel
Hygge isn’t incompatible with snow, but you want to minimize the inconvenience. Therefore, become a proper squirrel. Ensure you have plenty of supplies on hand — from de-icer to tasty snacks — to weather storms.
Hygge is all about comfort. The softer, the better, so in addition to pillows and throws, look for soft, fluffy socks and snuggly pajamas for lazy days. And no, you’re never too old to have a favorite stuffed animal or two.
Encircle Your Life With Love
Part of hygge is showing your loved ones how much you care. How does it look to encircle your life with love? It might mean taking a few extra seconds to cut your child’s lunchtime sandwich into little triangles like they prefer or adding a note of encouragement to their kettle.
Embrace a Hygge Lifestyle
Hygge might be a Danish concept, but people worldwide can benefit. Such a lifestyle strengthens your connections with those you love, providing significant health benefits.
A hygge lifestyle is also the perfect antidote to modern hecticness. Slow down and embrace your inner cottage core for a happier, more meaningful life.
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