We tend to lose ourselves in the things and people we love; well I do anyway, but even still, I’ve only really recently come to discover this for myself. If you can’t stop thinking about something or someone, you need to pursue it.
My new love obsession (the one I’m willing to share) that I’m pursuing is Hygge. Like I previously mentioned Hygge is all about finding the joy in the ordinary and making it beautiful – it could be a casual stroll through a leafy park, going on a date to the cinema, cooking with friends, reading a novel…it strips everything back to basics. I find great contentment in the simplest things that others tend to often overlook.
Some simple things that I can’t get enough of are wild flowers, kisses, big bear hugs, cooking, dancing in puddles, laughing until I hurt, the smell of rain, random acts of kindness…these all fall under what I’d consider the Hygge umbrella.
Pronounced hue-gah, Hygge is a Danish word and concept that has no real English translation, making it even more alluring. It can only be described as a beautiful feeling or mood of taking a real pleasure in making those simple ordinary things I was previously referring to beautiful or special.
As a coffee lover, I once made the word coffee a verb. To coffee meant to drink and linger over a freshly brewed cup of steaming coffee with friends in a cosy place. I also love candles – there’s something magical about a flickering flame, but then again, I’m also a romantic so candles don’t really come as much of a surprise. Come round to my home and there’s a high probability you’ll be greeted by dancing flames. These are just a few examples of how I Hygge, which I’ve also now made into a verb.
I once read somewhere that Hygge is the ‘art of creating intimacy’. I absolutely love this perception. Intimacy can obviously be created with the person you love, but it can also be created with your friends, your fashion choices, your home décor, and even yourself. Comfort, cosiness, familiarity, simplicity, contentment, security, charm, reassurance, similarity – they’re just a few nouns often used to describe aspects of Hygge, and funnily enough these nouns could all describe what I look for in people and love.
The history of Hygge is just as fascinating as the concept itself. Depressingly cold and dark in winter, Hygge was born out of the Danes trying to endure long cold monotonous Nordic winters. It was the indefinable feeling of Hygge that helped the Danes discover beautiful new moments and breaking up those terribly long winter months. They soon ascertained that simple homely acts, such as lighting candles, cooking a comforting home cooked meal with someone you care about and sipping on a cup of creamy hot cocoa could soon lift spirits and soothe the soul.
Creating simple rituals that require little to no effort like brewing real coffee or buying fresh flowers from the farmers’ market can dramatically transform your life. I’m ready to welcome more Hygge, along with other things, into my life. I’m pretty certain that incorporating something like Hygge into my daily routine will soon just become a natural extension.
Hygge means being in the present. It means recognising and acknowledging acts, moments and feelings. It means allowing the ordinary to feel extraordinary.
This year I’m going to Hygge more by…
Expressing Myself through Writing
Someone recently asked me why I write so much and who I’m constantly referring to in my writing. It doesn’t matter whom I write about, because I’m pretty sure the person in question knows. But what I can say is that writing gives me more strength. It allows me to characterise and romanticise myself and others. It also allows me to explore the many things that I’m afraid of. Basically, I love to put everything down in writing.
Writing creates permanent records. We don’t send letters via snail mail any more and parts of me long to receive handwritten letters in the post. This year I will go back and write the old-fashioned way, allowing people to experience the anticipation and elation of opening an envelope once again. Writing takes effort; it shows people you care.
I want to say what my soul wants to say, but I haven’t been very explicit out of fear, forcing people to read between the lines and piece together my perplexing clues. F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest writers in history, wrote melodious love letters that sang beautiful songs, so perhaps I too need to follow suit, and maybe just maybe one day I’ll find that vital valor to send it.
I wish you’d read more closely all the words I write, because the sentences read the words I fail to say.
Saying it with Flowers
It’s very rare that I receive flowers, but flowers are some of my favourite things. When I do receive them, I feel elated, especially if they’re given for no reason (if my future husband happens to read this ever, please take note). With flowers, who could not be happy?
Flowers create beautiful bursts of colour. They bring life to a room. They also make me incredibly happy.
Giving and receiving flowers is a beautiful thing, and since I don’t have anyone to buy me flowers just yet, I will Hygge more by aimlessly wandering the farmers’ markets, selecting beautiful fresh flowers for myself to decorate my home on a more regular basis.
A simple compliment can change a person’s day; well it does mine. I’m going to make more of a concerted effort to compliment more, to magnify people’s strengths and put smiles on their faces.
I love it when people compliment me on my words, my thoughts and my actions; I love the sincerity. And when people don’t compliment me, I need to learn to compliment myself, I need to celebrate my own successes and recognise my own strengths.
Doing Random Acts of Kindness
When kindness touches a day, life becomes even more beautiful. Doing random acts of kindness such as cooking for others, making someone a morning cup of tea or coffee, texting them during the day to let them know you’re thinking about them, having a cosy date night in at home, watching the football with your partner, buying your partner’s favourite food at the supermarket, giving a massage, treating a person to lunch, fulfil me, and I pledge to do more of these random acts of kindness from now on.
I’m a huge reader, but over the last year, I just didn’t really read, and it is something I miss. Snuggling up on the couch, in bed or in the arms of your lover and reading is magical. It’s amazing how such a basic everyday act such as reading can improve your mental wellbeing. So as well as just delving into the world of business with my more intense MBA books, I’m also going to create more time to read for pleasure. There are two things I can completely lose myself in, a person’s eyes and a good book.
Joining the Slow Food Movement
I’m not sure if this is actually a movement or not, but I’m ready to create it. Cooking is love made visible, and this is another example of Hygge I can incorporate into my life more. Leisurely cooking over the duration of a full afternoon is oh-so Hygge; it’s also relaxing and nourishing. To help improve my baking skills I’m also going to enroll in some bespoke bread-making courses.
Visit the Nordic regions and you’ll soon see that Danish cinnamon rolls are the epitome of Hygge-style baking, so I’m going to indulge and learn how to make them as well – yum!
I’ll also use my cooking to tie in with my random acts of kindness and cook for others more, because good soulful food is one of the greatest gifts you can give a person.
I have fond memories of cooking with my mum when I was little. Stirring, chatting, learning how to read recipes, licking the cake mixture off the spoon…the kitchen is a place where many memories are made.
My soul mate and future husband will also love to cook. It’s one of my pre-requisites. Cooking with others is a Hygge tradition. To me, there’s no better way to spend your time.
I’ve made a vow to allow no person or thing to ever steal my inner peace again. Yoga and Pilates are synonymous with Hygge – these are after all, journeys of the self.
I love working out, and after a long lull, I’m back and I’m more motivated than ever. It’s one way I can really de-stress. I love that moment you start to see results; this is when you become addicted.
But there’s also something about yoga, so this is another thing I’d love to embrace; I could also do with improving my flexibility. I think the Zen saying…
Simplify yourself as much as possible
…falls in line with the Hygge concept and sums up my new approach to life.
Starting a Gratitude Journal
One of the greatest of virtues is gratitude.
My prolific writing of late has seen me express my gratitude in many ways, but as well as blogging about them, I also aim to write them all down privately while curled up in my Hygge nook, because this year I’ve made the conscious choice to count my rainbows and not my thunderstorms.