That’s what I said, too. “Hy-what?”
I learned about it this week. It’s a Danish word and it’s actually pronounced “hoo-ga”. And you want some. I know I do.
Hygge means comfort, coziness, contentment and enjoyment in small things. It encompasses the entire Scandinavian lifestyle of being active, enjoying life, friends and family, home, the outdoors, food. By my calculations that puts it somewhere between joi de vivre and cuddling on the sofa. Count. Me. In!
It’s wonderful to come across this concept at the top of the year when the calendar has turned and I’m thinking about what I want for this new year, for moving forward, for creating the life and home I want. In the book I have (OK – so I’m an academic, if I can read about it, I will. Every time) the author gives examples from her own life and background. One thing she mentions is the habit of lighting candles, enjoying a cup of tea and a little bite, and taking time in nature when you feel stuck on something. How delightful!
And somehow – it WORKS. If you’ve been following a while you know I’m a coffee drinker. COFFEEEE DRINKERRRRR. This engine runs on caffeine and don’t get between mama and the brew in the morning. But… on this lovely Sunday morning I was rousted out of bed at o-dark-auugh by pets far more eager to start the day than I was. I dragged myself to the kitchen, got them fed and resettled, and then, instead of heading for my usual pot of black gold, I tried a little experiment. I made a cup of chai, I lit a couple candles, and I sat down in the quiet and nibbled some grapes. It was absolutely lovely.
Such a small simple quiet change. Yet it left me feeling so peaceful and content. Unrushed. Content. Hygge. Later, after I’d taken the dogs for their Sunday hike up the hill, I made one cup of nice strong coffee and enjoyed it with a square of homemade granola bar. I could have purred.
So I think our Nordic friends are onto something delightful. I’m certainly going to keep bringing small contentments to my days: more happy work, more long walks, and many sweet little moments. Here’s hoping you have more sweet moments, too – Cheers to a hygge life!
Two resources for you this week, dear readers:
The book that got me into the concept of hygge is “How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life” by Signe Johansen, published just this month (Jan 2017); there are a number of others, too. I have enjoyed it quite a bit. You can find it here: How to Hygge on Amazon
I based my granola bars on a recipe by the wonderful Ina Garten, found here: Ina Garten’s granola bars. I made a couple substitutions based on what I had (chopped dried pineapple instead of dates, dried cranberries, no apricots (but I totally would); whole almonds, rough chopped because I like the crunch). And I had the great advantage of having a big jar of local honey that I’d purchased from the friend who has beehives. (Local honey is the bomb.) I guarantee that doing your weekly planning with a lovely rich bit of something and a good cuppa makes for a beautiful week.
Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!