Finding Comfort and Peace during a Deep Freeze – Hygge

Today we wanted to share some wellness inspiration from Denmark. It has been very cold lately and many of us have not been able to get outside and get much fresh air, let alone sunlight. What if we could make our surroundings a bit more peaceful, a bit more cozy? What if we could use this time to connect with people who we live with by having a board game night, reading books together or watching a family movie? We might make an active effort to do this over the holidays but when we go back to our regular work weeks and busy schedules, this can be missed or put on the “back-burner”.

If we dedicated 20 minutes each night to reading a story, sharing funny memories and having a warm cup of tea together, would that increase our mood? And what can we do to make our surroundings more calm, more cozy and more warm feeling?

Today we are going to learn together about a Danish concept that has been taking the world by storm – hygge. On a website entitled that was created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Hygge is explained as:

“A warm atmosphere:

Hard to pronounce, hygge (“hooga”) is difficult to explain, too. In brief, hygge is about taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about – or even by yourself – to relax and enjoy life’s quieter pleasures.

The word hygge dates back to around 1800, at least in the meaning it has today. However, various definitions of hygge can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where a similar Old Norse word meant “protected from the outside world.”

Hygge is often about informal time together with family or close friends. Typically, the setting is at home or another quiet location, or perhaps a picnic during the summer months. There is no agenda. It is an opportunity to unwind and take things slow.” – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Even though Denmark has long cold winters and limited sunlight hours during these winter months just like Canada, it has been ranked in the top three happiest countries in the world over the past many years. Although many things may contribute to this, we could try to use the concept of hygge to help us get through our harsh winters.

Taken from Columbia Distributing

How to Hygge!

Meik Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (and the author of The Little Book of Hygge) believes that there are 10 distinct elements that must be considered when adopting a hygge lifestyle:

Atmosphere – creating a calm vibe.
Presence – not being on your phone and living in the moment.
Pleasure – life should be fun, enjoyable and bring great happiness.
Equality – no one is better than anyone else.
Togetherness – spend time with people you care about and those that make you smile.
Gratitude – take time to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
Harmony – life is not a competition.
Truce – there’s no need for arguments.
Comfort – relax, wear fluffy socks and be cosy.
Shelter – your home is important.

If we make an effort to bring in some elements of Hygge into our daily lives, we could notice more things around us that we are grateful for, we could focus on what personally gives us the “warm fuzzies” and we could take care of ourselves even when we don’t get as much time outside and in the sun. Here are some things that you could do to add some small elements of hygge to your home:

  • says that “arguments are unlikely in a moment of hygge – so try to spend time with others non-judgmentally when trying to find moments of hygge.”
  • Take a break from the news for a night to limit our stress: It is important to know what is happening in the world around us – but to add some calm to our lives, think about taking a break from the news, even if it’s just for one night a week
  • Take some time to read a book – if you are anything like the SHINE coaches, over the winter break you might have been gifted a book or started reading a book. Take some time even 20 minutes before bed to read a little.
  • Put away electronic devices for a while – try to have some phone free family time!
  • Try cooking or baking together every once in a while.
  • Curl up under blankets and just take a moment to notice what’s going on around you.
  • Make yourself and others in your house a nice warm drink to enjoy together (even if that is a warm glass of milk for kids to enjoy before bed.)
  • If you have a fireplace – turn that on.
  • Eat supper together when you can – try doing this with no tv.
  • Listen to music together
  • Use calm lighting like fairy lights, lamps and warm light instead of bright white lights

Below is a free audiobook of the “Little Book of Hygge” read by the author Miek Wiking. It’s about 3 hours long but you can listen little by little if you choose!

Let us know more things that you and your family might do to make your home feel cozy and to give yourself warm, relaxed and calm feelings!

References used:

  • The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
  • – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  • Picture from Columbia Distributing
  • Picture and additional information taken from

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