How to live well with Hygge

07 Feb 2017

The Danish idea of hygge describes a feeling of happiness, contentment and wellbeing derived from cosiness and the small pleasures in life. In many ways some of the things we do are ‘hyggelig’ without us realising - like sitting down to eat supper with family, or lighting a candle while sitting down to read a book. Appreciating the simple comforts around us can help to enhance general wellbeing - particularly during the cold Winter months.


It is important to keep warm in your home during Winter, particularly to help prevent illness such as cold and flu. Staying warm at home doesn’t have to mean increasing your energy bills; cosy up with thick blankets and a hot water bottle to enjoy being snug in the spirit of hygge.

Wrap up! Chunky knits, woolly hats and fluffy socks are not only a good way to keep your body at a good temperature, take pleasure in the soft feeling of comfort. This could be enhanced by enjoying a hot drink like tea or hot chocolate, or a hot meal.

Although a necessity, one of the small pleasures we may take for granted each day is the food we eat. Hot, comforting foods like stews, pies and chilli will warm your body and satisfy your needs. Cooking together and sitting down to enjoy a meal is also a great way to share time with your loved ones and appreciate what you have.

The essence of hygge encourages one to be mindful and at peace, and solo activities such as yoga or cycling may help to achieve this. Light exercise will get your body moving, keeping you active, warm and energised during the season while increasing your dopamine levels- the chemical that helps us feel happiness.

A huge part of the Scandinavian spirit of hygge is spending time with your loved ones and showing gratitude. So do away with mobile phones, social media and trivial worries for an evening or two, and share it with friends and family.

Hygge may not ensure your good health, but this Winter there are certainly small changes that you can make in order to feel happier and improve your wellbeing – these things are all around you, all you have to do is notice them.


Author:  Leyla Hannbeck