Pronounced “hoo-ga” or “hue-gah”, this Danish word has no single definition. It’s not about a thing, but about a feeling, a sense of well-being. It’s about enjoying the simple things in life that make us feel content and it’s a trend taking off world-wide.
Hygge can be a solitary experience, or one shared with friends and family. During these long cold winter months in northern Wisconsin I find hygge in a book with a cup of coffee, tea, cocoa, or a glass of wine. If it’s not too cold, I will enjoy a long walk on the wooded trails behind our house, or snow-shoeing in the woods behind our cabin with my husband. Counted cross-stitch while watching a movie and drinking coffee is a great way to start my day, while a hot bubble bath with candles and soft music is a very relaxing way to end it.
Jig-saw puzzles are a fun winter activity, alone or with friends. This week we hosted our monthly card night. The six of us enjoyed a meal of hot soup and bread, followed by a rousing game of Hand And Foot with wine and chocolates and lots of good-hearted ribbing. New Year’s Eve it was Trivial Pursuit, women against the men. This year we women skunked the men both times! Game nights are a great way to spend an evening with family and friends.
Hygge isn’t just for the winter months. It should be a year-round goal. Once the weather turns nice again I’ll enjoy more frequent walks, many rounds of golf, days spent at the lake boating and picnicking, and even some fishing. The county fair is a great way to relax and have fun. And, of course, a good book is enjoyable any day. But in the summer you’re more likely to find me sitting on the back patio with a cold drink within easy reach.
Hygge isn’t about what you can buy, or one-upping the next guy. It’s about what makes you happy. It’s about sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend while remembering the goofy things you did together as kids. It’s more about jogging for the peace and quiet you feel while doing it, and not about running a race for the blue ribbon at the end. It can be as simple as ditching the bra and too-tight pants for sweats or pajamas at the end of the work day. It can be your feet in a pair of your fuzziest, warmest, socks.
How do you find hygge in your life?