A few days ago a friend of mine called me from Copenhagen and told me that she had taken a few days off work and was enjoying the Danish hygge (pronounced as “heu-gah”) which basically describes the Nordic way of enjoying life’s simple pleasures with friends and family!
The word itself is usually translated into English as “coziness” but for me it’s much more than that! It’s an attitude to life that allows me to commit to everyday small pleasures, through small rituals and gestures that bring value, comfort and everyday meaning to my life; making me relax and feel as at-home as possible . . . wherever I may be!
Hot drinks are ranked as one of the most important factors in getting a bit of hygge in your life. In the Nordic countries where we have long and cold winters, one of the simplest way of creating a feeling of well-being and warmth is to enjoy a warm drink . . . while hopefully sitting by a fire wearing warm woolly socks and/or sweater or both!
Here in Athens, where the winters aren’t so cold but often damp, I make sure to start my days with some hygge! I never rush my morning coffee and often start my days with a hygge on a plate; giving myself a satisfying warm and fulfilling breakfast to start the day off right.
By now, you have probably understood that one of the cornerstones of hygge is enjoying, whenever possible, some of the finer things in life . . . such as heavenly smelling home baked pastries, freshly baked bread that stir our senses and enchant our imagination!
So, do what I often do . . . get baking and don’t feel guilty about it! For example, try baking my granny’s classic pound cake recipe and relish every last morsel with a cup of tea. Believe me, there’s nothing that can make you feel much better than a slice of freshly baked cake that melts in your mouth .and brings to mind . . . many happy childhood memories!
Set the smartphone aside and pick up a good old fashioned book! In our all too hectic lives it’s important to turn off all distractions and give ourselves some moments of peace and quiet. Don’t think twice about switching off the phones, tablets, laptops and the internet! Curl up in your favorite chair and read a good book! I promise you will feel so much better afterwards!
Another important hygge feeling is socializing and sharing the simple pleasures of life with friends and family. So catch up with those you love and invite your friends over for a chat and a cup of coffee or tea . . . . or do as we often do here in Greece . . . join them for coffee . . . or a simple snack or mezé and a glass of wine, Ouzo or Tsipouro at your local bar/café or tavern.
Last but not least, light up your candles . . . any time of the day! Burning candles, especially different scented ones, stir your senses and are one of the simplest ways to create or change an atmosphere to your liking!
Whatever you do, make sure to strive for lots of “well-being” moments in your life . . . . everybody needs them! Also, if you feel like sharing any of your hygge moments with us . . . . please do!
Until soon again . . . . .