Hygge in Lockdown
Updated: Aug 5
I woke up this morning thinking about Hygge. In Australia, Danish Hygge was a little lifestyle trend that came and went a couple of years ago without most people realizing that it had been. According to Meik Wiking, who wrote The Little Book of Hygge, it is “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing.” To him, Hygge is not a lifestyle trend, it is part of the Danish national DNA.
Mental health is a big concern right now, which is the reason that this came to mind. There are many complex issues at play here, and I don't want to downplay any of them. I spent eight years of my life as a Melbournian, that time will always be in my heart, and we feel for you, deeply. I just thought that somehow, somewhere, the concept of adding a little Hygge might help somebody. Hygge is about feeling cosy and safe. Being winter and a time when people are feeling unsafe, this might provide a little comfort.
I've done some research, and it seems that, to many Danish people, Hygge is a state of mind that involves creating cosy environments, enjoying quality relationships and experiences, and having a little indulgence. Wiking says that this includes "something sinful", such as "taking a break from the demands of healthy eating". Danes eat a lot of sugar and enjoy alcohol. Compared to Swedes and Norwegians, he says that Danes have shorter lifespans. But, they are happier while they are alive, evidently. They also burn more candles than any other European country other than Switzerland.
Copenhagen was one of my top five favourite European cities that I visited. I hadn't heard of Hygge went I went there, but it was Copenhagen's cosiness that I loved. The warmly-lit underground restaurants on the wharf, the pretty shops and cobblestones of the old town, and people ice-skating on a winter's night with the lights in the trees. I'm pretty sure I wrote a poem or two while I was there, as you do :)
I'm loving this lady, Diane in Denmark, who talks about Hygge in this video
For her, Hygge includes chatting over a thermos of hot tea under an umbrella after skinny dipping with her two best girlfriends in the pouring rain. This is something that she does five or more times a week. Yes, all year round, in Denmark. Imagine that in Australia. How can you not love this lady?
She also has another suggestion that I love, which is having a pamper basket to "get yourself set up for a Hygge moment". She says that this is about being intentional about enjoying the feeling of Hygge. Her basket includes newspapers, books, head phones, hand cream and chocolate that can be enjoyed any time. She also suggests using your good china and serviettes, because every day is a special occasion. How true that is.
Another aspect that can give us pleasure is anticipating the future. Diane says that this is a big part of Hygge. Planning and anticipating lovely Hygge moments might help us to remember that there are so many experiences to come. Most of us will look back at this time as a mere moment in our lives, an interesting story to tell. Who would have thought that we would have a prime minister telling us to stay home and do puzzles. And yes, puzzles are totally Hygge.
The Scandinavian hygge lifestyle taking the world by storm. (2017, Feb. 28). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl74ybpyNLk