Hygge - the Danish lifestyle
The term hygge originated in Norway and means "well-being". For the Danes, hygge is a tradition and a way of life that is about mindfulness, security, mutual support and connection with others. It's about creating a cosy and warm atmosphere in which to spend quality time with loved ones and doing so as often as possible. So let's take a look at what exactly it means in everyday life and how we can experience it ourselves at home.
10 tips for more hygge in everyday life
Candles, candles, candles: the most important thing is to create a cosy atmosphere with warm light and candles. It's not for nothing that the Danes use an average of 6kg of candles per capita per year - the Swiss only around 3kg per year.
Spending time together: Whether it's going out for dinner, having a barbecue together or playing something cosy at home - the main thing is that you spend time together and support each other. Hyggelig is when the "we" is in the foreground and you live in the moment with loved ones. Mobile phones, TV and computers should remain switched off. Feeling connected to other people gives our lives meaning and purpose and promotes well-being. And even our immune system is stronger when we have an intense social life.
Take time out: Reading a great book, painting a picture, getting cosy in the bath with candles or singing together, all of this is spending hyggelige time. Singing together, by the way, releases the happiness hormone oxytocin, which in turn increases our sense of well-being.
Helping each other: It is hyggelig to help each other. Together, things get done much faster and easier. Whether it's cleaning up together after a cosy barbecue, preparing together for the next birthday or studying together for school - being there for each other promotes happiness and lowers stress levels.
Reinterpret: The last apple pie got all mushy inside. No matter, it will be eaten as a dessert with a spoon. The football game is cancelled because of rain. Then we'll just play Monopoly together in the warm flat. Try to look at things from a different perspective. Often things are not as negative as they seem at first glance. Even from seemingly unsuccessful events, something very beautiful can arise, if we only allow it.
Mindfulness: When was the last time you paused for a moment and consciously noticed your surroundings or yourself? Such short periods of relaxation are important to reduce stress, lower our blood pressure and increase our emotional resistance (resilience). Maybe you would like to try out a short morning ritual tomorrow for a conscious start to the day. After waking up, lie still for a few minutes and feel your body with full attention. What body signals do you notice? Are you cold or warm? Are your legs heavy or does your hand tingle? By feeling into yourself, you will get a feeling for what your body might need today to start the day well.
Create a hygge oasis at home: "Less is more" is the secret motto of hygge. So get to the wardrobe and clean out. Get rid of unnecessary ballast and create a little order. And then bring on the cosiness. Anything that makes your home cosy - a cosy sofa cushion, candles, a fruit basket, muted colours - is hygge.
Go for a walk: Rain, snow or shine, walking is hyggelig for Danes in any weather. Walking helps to calm down and relieve stress.
The "hygge oath": Make a hygge oath with your family. The idea is to agree to only be in the moment when being together. All distractions, such as mobile phones or laptops, stay away from family gatherings. Also, leave all problems at home and focus only on the here and now. You might also try breaking your usual communication patterns. Warm and non-accusatory communication is an important part of hygge.
Sharing stresses and strains: Confiding in good friends and family helps to reduce stress and to cope more quickly. If you find it difficult to talk about such issues with your family or friends, it can also be helpful and relieving to talk about them with someone from the outside, such as a psychotherapist.
After these everyday tips, I would like to introduce you to some other areas that are influenced by hygge. Because hygge is a lifestyle that runs through all areas of life in Denmark. Even at school, children learn how important community is. And women after giving birth also receive special support in Denmark.
Hygge at school
Even the youngest learn in Denmark how important the "we" is. Danish pupils between the ages of 6 and 16 have one hour a week of "Klassens tid", which means empathy learning hour. In this lesson, the children deal together with the burdens of their classmates and how they can support them. The focus here is on taking a step back in favour of others in order to make being together more pleasant and peaceful. The children work in groups from an early age and learn to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of others and to help them. The focus is not on outdoing others, but on taking responsibility and helping. Even in sports, there are no prizes or trophies here so as not to get into a competition.
Hygge for young mothers
In Denmark, a midwife comes by during the first week after childbirth. In addition to basic care, the midwife gives the young mother the names and contact details of all the other women in the neighbourhood who have given birth, including information on how old the children are. The mothers then meet once a week to exchange experiences and support each other in everyday life. If a woman does not show up for a meeting, the others call her or visit her at home.
If you now feel like bringing a little more hygge into your everyday life, then one thing is important to emphasise. Start slowly and don't get frustrated if you don't manage to start your day mindfully or spend more time with friends. Don't stress and don't forget that hygge means slowing down, relaxing, feeling safe and reinterpreting everything a little more casually.