How to Live the Cozy Danish Lifestyle: Hygge

Kylie Ha, Staff Writer

In the last couple of years, most particularly in the winter months, the word “hygge” has been passed around constantly. Pronounced “hoo-ga”, this Danish-based concept can be defined as a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the “simple things” in life.

According to the 2016 World Happiness Report, the world’s happiest country is Denmark—no wonder the concept of hygge originated there! Meik Wing, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living stated, “The Danes are exceptionally good at decoupling wealth and well-being. [They] focus on the small things that really matter, including spending more quality time with friends and family and enjoying the good things in life.” 

While books on “how to live a happy life” or “practicing a minimalist life” are heavy on suggestions about buying new clothes, furniture, or other materialistic things, the whole concept of hygge is budget-friendly and only requires minimal effort. One of the biggest things hygge requires is simply a lot of spare time.

It’s about using board games rather than electronic games and being able to read a book while cooking a homemade soup. But first, the most fundamental part of living this lifestyle is to create a perfect environment; it’s all about the lights! With a small collection of preferably light or non-scented candles lighting up the room, an instant homey and calming mood is created. 

The second most important thing that nearly all books on hygge recommend is a comfortable blanket. Although traditional websites like Hyggelife prefer animal hides, any kind of electric warming throws or weighted blankets do the job. Next time you’re on the couch, bundled inside the warm blanket, take a journal and write your thoughts down, or spend some time reading your favorite novel. 

The best part about hygge is the budget-friendly outfit ideas. Outfits consist of nothing more than fuzzy, knit, and cozy socks, leggings, and sweaters. Any form of comfortable loungewear is ideal—even putting your hair up into a messy bun or ponytail is considered hyggelig. 

The final factor is the mindful indulgence of food. It’s been suggested more than once that high levels of meat, cake, and coffee consumption in Denmark is directly linked to hygge. Rather than following the diet plan day by day, take the time to make something homemade. Instead of avocado toast, try porridge, a hygge staple for breakfast. Most books suggest cooking up a hearty stew or making popcorn the old-fashioned way to really make things satisfying. 

Though hygge can be practiced anywhere around the house, most people encourage having a small corner of a room to do everything in. This is called a “hyggekrog”, which translates to a nook. The most important quality about incorporating hygge into an everyday routine allows people to become more aware of the things that have the most sentimental value to them. 

With everything ready in your living room, combine all four steps and have a chill type of day! Pull out the old family board games, cuddle under a blanket, take a short nap, walk around the neighborhood, or invite a couple of friends over for just some relaxing catching-up. Here you have it, the four essentials of living your best life ever!