If you haven’t stumbled onto the instagram-perfect concept of Hygge, then hello. My name is Laurie. Let me be your tour guide.
Hygge (pronounced who-guh) is a Danish word that means something like: the happy, contented pleasure of cozy company, relaxing vibes, and probably cake. There’s a word for it in Swedish (mys) and a word for it in Norwegian (kos, koselig or Å kose seg). I have no idea what the Icelandic or Finnish words are, but I bet they have one.
Hygge is a uniquely Scandinavian concept. Rather than struggle to endure the long winters, Scandinavians approach winter as the season to go inside — literally and metaphorically. Hygge is born out of those warm indoor moments. Christmas, for example, is peak hygge.
To describe an event or a thing with an adjective, you can say it’s hyggelig (hoo-glee). Cats are the ultimate hyggelig.
The concept of hygge has crept through Europe and is now making its way across the globe thanks to hashtags, instagram breakfasts, and the internet. I’m glad this is a trend that’s catching on. It’s way better that the macarena or gangnam style. What could be healthier for your daily life than being mindful of creating warmth and pleasure in your most mundane activities?
I don’t get to see the Captain every day, and sometimes there are rather long gaps between if one of us is traveling or working on an off-schedule. On the days we do have together, we wake up and make coffee, then bring the mugs back to bed. With a cat draped across the bedspread, with our coffees in hand, clean blankets, warm sheets … that’s hygge. We have done it ever since we first started dating and it’s what we call “the couple bubble.” I got that name from a book we both read early in our relationship, Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship. If you ever want a relationship book that is short, easy to read, and will save you from yourself— this is the book. Really.
One of the things we learned in that book is the importance of establishing the couple-bubble. It’s is such a great concept and I love it. The little rituals couples share, the little jokes and sayings that two people build up over time, all of these habits create and reinforce the shared bond between two people. Hygge is like a cozy bubble that can extend to a sofa or a warm cup of coffee or just in the way you relax after dinner.
Here’s a great video on the subject:
Interested in more hygge? There’s a lovely book on Amazon (from a real Dane!) called The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. And of course there’s always the hashtag. But use it with caution! last time I looked up #hygge on Instagram I ended up eating a whole chocolate bar and impulse-buying new bedding online.