It’s safe to say that in the past few months we’ve certainly experienced plenty from within confined spaces. News cycles have been dominated with one worrisome headline after another. Human connection has been traded for teleconferencing. And through it all, our daily lives go on — while our mental exhaustion grows.
These days will be remembered and studied for years to come.
Being constricted by our own four walls mentally and physically brings us limitations. In a world gone sideways, where is there to go? See below.
noun: hygge : a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
This Danish concept isn’t defined in one simple take. Hygge encompasses many things: a feeling, a concept, a mental frame of mind, a lifestyle of “coziness.” But no matter how we look at it, the key construct of Hygge is to put our minds at ease and bring forth a sense of comfort. The method revolves around slowing down, clear-thinking, and a sense of self-treatment to alter any distressed or fatigued mindsets.
To leave the worries of the current world behind we must create our own, one that transposes our senses in a short amount of time to change our mental state. Find a comfortable space and heed the following steps to reroute your senses towards the cozy bliss known as Hygge.
Less is more! The art of Hygge starts with lighting – or the lack of. Get intimate with lower lighting such as candles, table lamps, or even a fireplace. Any natural light is always welcome. Limit the use of any chandeliers, ceiling mounts, fluorescent bulbs, to the degree that you can.
Music has the power to help shape the human mind; its role in Hygge is no exception. Stick to instrumental motifs, jump into a relaxing style of music on low volume such as classical piano, smooth jazz, or my favorite, lo-fi beats – ‘low-fidelity’ influenced instrumental loops comprised of 60’s and 70’s jazz samples.
Light a delicately-scented candle or perhaps burn some incense to fill the air with a light aroma. Bypass any type of artificial spray or air fresheners. Keep it natural and fresh, avoid overstimulation, and let the scent flow naturally.
Put the kettle on the boil and steep the worries away: a simple cup of tea will leave you feeling right as rain, especially the soothing likes of green and chamomile. Of course, if tea isn’t in your thing, choose a warming cup of coffee or hot chocolate to wrap your hands around. On warmer days, delve into natural juices, smoothies, or any other fresh drinks devoid of large sugar contents or artificial flavoring.
Warmth is closely correlated to Hygge; nothing beats bundling up in thermic threads on a raw and rainy day. But no matter the weather or temperature, the goal is to get comfortable so drag out some snug loungewear and settle in.
OK, so now you’ve built your “Hygge Sanctuary.” Now what? The most important question to ask yourself is what activities help you relax? A few of the most common ways include:
- Spending time in thought or meditation
- Solve a crossword puzzle or sudoku
- Writing (by hand, not on a computer or phone)
- Reminiscing over old photos
There’s no exact written formula for Hygge – it can manifest in many different ways. Your Monday Hygge sanctuary may look different than your Thursday Hygge. Whether it’s a sunny morning or a raw rainy day, work with what you have, with what you want, or whatever you’re feeling and let the moment shape you. The more naturally that it comes, the greater the result.
This Danish meditative practice is a simple solution to bring a well-needed bit of balance. These forces compound in their own right to build a calming foundation that the world outside cannot offer. Whether it be a self-indulgent ten-minute break at the peak of a work rush or an hour to decompress at the end of the day, a search for Hygge provides the sense of escape many of us so desperately need.