Hygge: A Case For Coziness
Say hello to hygge: A Danish lifestyle trend where the focus is on enjoying the simple things in life.
If curling up on the couch with a good book, a fluffy blanket and a mug of hot cocoa sounds like an ideal evening, you may be living a hygge-inspired life without even knowing it. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish term used to describe life’s simple pleasures. Recently, it’s grown into a full-blown lifestyle movement. However, unlike other wellness trends, hygge doesn’t require buying fancy equipment, following a handbook, or depriving oneself. There are no rules: Just do whatever makes you feel cozy, safe and comfortable.
“We are all looking for a sense of connection within ourselves, which is why it’s become so popular,” explains Hillary Straus, psychotherapist and executive director of the Maitland Wellness Center. Between daily stressors and 24/7 connectivity, hygge is a way to hit the reset button, especially during the hectic holiday season. “You can create the feeling [of hygge] anytime by being mindful,” furthers Straus. “Try working it into your daily routine—whether it’s meditating for five to 10 minutes, powering down your phone at night and leaving it off till you’re out the door in the a.m., or taking time to sit with your cup of tea.” These small acts impart an immediate sense of calmness.
(adobe Stock © Jacob Lund)
There are also many ways to channel hygge throughout your home. While there’s no “right way” to do it, make a space that’s pleasing, stress-free and tailored to your tastes. “Create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere by limiting the amount of clutter and accessories throughout your home. Clean and simple is the way to go,” says Meredith Summersgill, senior designer at Soco Interiors in Winter Park. But don’t make it too minimal: “Incorporate personal family photos or photography as artwork with large mats and simple wood or light textured frames. Seeing your photos and memories you’ve created over the years allows you to reflect on happy moments and creates that homey and pleasant feeling.” Other design tips to consider: Lots of soft throw blankets and pillows, monochromatic color schemes, texture play (think: a faux fur rug layered over a fiber one), and pops of green using succulents and other plants. Shades of purple are known to have a relaxing effect as well, so consider using lavender or eggplant as an accent color.
“Lighting plays a big role in our mood and comfort,” adds Summersgill. “Soft lighting is best. Incorporate some candles into your living and sleeping spaces—this will soothe and relax you by creating a sense of warmth.” If you’re more in tune with your sense of smell, spread scented candles around your home. When you light them, the scent of your favorite aroma will instantly put you at ease. Or start a nightly ritual to unwind: Try using a scented essential oil in a diffuser or apply perfumed hand lotion.
Another way to play into your senses is through sound and taste. For auditory lovers, turn on soft music or even a white noise machine to reach your zen. If food and drink are your thing, don’t just choose recipes that please your palate, but also take time to really savor that sip of wine or that bite of creamy Camembert cheese. “And it’s nice to just have people come over for coffee or dinner,” says Straus. “It’s all about slowing down, being present and not rushing all the time.”