Thursday, 19 November 2020

The Art of Hygge!


HYGGE! The Danish principle of Being in the moment – Having a great time – A cosey, heart felt intimate time within a safe haven. It is pronounced as Huooga. Sorry Danes! I just sounds more right to me as HieGee!! One can have feelings of hygge cosiness either by ones self alone or in a group of people. I think the UK we would liken this to what we call homely cosiness. I read somewhere that the origin of the word is from Norway and originally means protection and shelter. I imagine this being from the driving snow and wind! What comes to mind when you think of it? For me I immediately think of candles, food, a log fire and snuggling up with a furry blanket. And yet it is so much more than this. Like this cute picture shared on facebook.

Yes the Danes have the largest usage of candles in the world! According to the European Candle Association, Denmark burns more candles than any other country in Europe. Each Dane burns around six kilos of candle wax each year. That’s a bonkers amount! I read in a book somewhere that Danes typically put candles into their street facing windows and leave curtains etc open so that people can see in and enjoy them. I think for me I would be worried that a robber-to-be would be sizing up my house if I left the curtains open with lights on! That and it’s how I was brought up. Never leave the curtains open with the lights on. Asking for trouble! Here is a nice candle I found on this website:

As it is so dark in the Nordic countries they tend to use more little lights and candles to brighten the place up. Winter is something to be celebrated with thick warm cosey jumpers and thick woollen snuggly socks. And of course – A log fire is a MUST! It’s just a good excuse to snuggle up and get comfy! Natures own way of making us hibernate. Snuggle up indoors in our cosey blankets and REST! After a summer of rush, dash, and hard physical work in the garden it’s good to take down time to rejuvenate ready for spring once more. They also love their home cooking. Nothing is better than a nice stew in a slow cooker or the oven and having the smell radiating out over the whole house. And whilst we are on the subject of smells cooking things like cinnamon, oranges and other winter spices on the stove also fills the home with both a sense of exoticness as well as a homely, warm, comforting smell and feeling. Another way to get this feel is with oil burners and pure essential oils. I say pure as it worth paying the extra to get the natural smells of Frankincense, Pine and Orange to seep through the house and delight your senses! Pine is also a mild disinfectant so added bonus there! Don’t get the fragrance type ones as they will be full of chemicals and fake smells that are just too over powering and sweet. Eco and natural is always best if you can! Might be more expensive but should last you a long time. The same for candles always go for bees wax where you can. Support the bee farmers but also burns cleaner than standard candles. Avoid fake scented candles unless they contain pure essential oils. Here is another one I saw on facebook.

Each house needs a room where you feel most at home and comfortable to rest and reset in. And in that room a special shelf or unit area that you can just dress up. Bring nature in – Leaves, twigs, conkers, pine cones etc. Put pretty fairy lights up, perhaps some little teddies if that is your thing. Craft some leaf lights or bunting, or craft a pumpkin either knitted or crocheted like I knitted a few weekends back. Home made adds to hygge! Love and care goes into making these.

Often we are so stressed from life we need somewhere to go to unwind and calm down. To reset our nervous system to calm once more. The best uses for this are our senses: Taste – chocolate, mulled wine and even Coffeee! Coffee can also use our sense of smell as can the other foods. And the essential oils or home meal cooking on the stove. Touch – Have things that feel nice – furry or knitted blankets, silky pillows, cosey jumpers and socks. Hearing – If you have a log fire your so lucky! Listen to the flames crackling, dancing, popping and fizzing like fireworks. If you don’t have one put on the log fire channel on youtube or even some relaxing music on the cd player/youtube etc. Use your eyes to see the flames, to see candles and the shadows and little flickers. To see your little fairy lights, different textures of fabrics on your sofa and to see nature all around – Houseplants, the twigs, leaves and pine cones you have collected over the Autumn. There are things to touch – the things of nature, your cosey pillows and blankets and the feeling of comfortable clothes on – The warm touch of a mug of coffee between your cold fingers. Just don’t go touching the candle or log fire!! Burnt fingers is not the touch we are going for here!!!! :-D This cosey place maybe in your bedroom or a corner of your living room. Choose what works best for you.

All of these sensory calmers can also be brought into group hygge situations. When your friends are round offer them comforting food, drink, a blanket and a feast for their eyes of pretty lights and candles. And don’t forget to appeal to the sense of smell with either delicious food cooking – and cake! - or essential oils delicately burning in the corner. These are friends, family and people that you feel most comfortable around and best able to be yourself.

I can’t remember how I first came across hygge. I want to say either a link on facebook or a magazine article something like that. But I was straight away taken with the idea. How we can improve our lives both physically and mentally to induce calm and self care and as a means to aid us through the long dark days of winter. Although hygge can also be practiced during summer! A trickling stream in a meadow, the crashing of waves on a shore, the kiss of sun on your skin as you lie on a picnic blanket and the smell of a BBQ! I saw someone talking about the little book of hygge. This is wrote by Meik Wiking. He is from the Happiness institute in Copenhagan. How is there such a place? Lol.  Apparently Denmark is the happiest place in the world! And he’s done his research well and it is beautifully written. And even better than the amazing writing and facts are the little pictures included within the book. I love pictures! The book is a hardback that is both pretty and strong. It is small enough to fit in your hands and read while you are lying down in bed. Perfect! It has lots of little sections that make it easy to read – to dip in and out of. Sections covered include: What hygge is, food and drink, lighting, togetherness, clothing, home, hygge outside the home, hygge all year round, hygge on the cheap, hygge in copenhagan, christmas, summer hygge, the 5 dimensions of hygge, and hygge and happiness. This book is full of research, recipes, pictures and ideas to help add hygge to your life! Here is a link for you to get your copy! Add it to your Christmas list! It’s such a calm read and gorgeous pictures! : Here are 2 pictures from Amazon:

So that’s it for today. I have a folder of hygge pictures on my pc that I have collected over the years. Mostly stuff put on facebook that has been shared around so I have shared them with you today. I have tried to say where I found them so i'm not just pinching random pictures! Hope you have enjoyed this calm read and insight into Hygge. It is something we all follow to various degrees already but there are many ideas out there of how we expand on this for both our mental and physical health. Keep looking to the skies! Lots of beautiful stars to be seen this time of year so chin up! And enjoy! X


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