Imagine snuggling in a plush blanket, a mug of hot chocolate in one hand, surrounded by the warmth of a fire. You're chatting with your loved ones and enjoying the simple things in life. The room fills with the comforting aroma of fresh-baked bread, and candles flicker all around.
That's hygge! We might call it "cozy" in North America, but the Scandinavians have a much superior word. Hygge roughly translates to a cozy lifestyle, but it's much more than that.
Curious about the hygge life? Read on to learn all about this charming word, its benefits, and gather some hygge ideas!
What is Hygge?
Before we get into what it is, let's cover how to pronounce it. Hygge sounds like "hyoo-guh" or "hoo-guh". Okay, now you can stop imagining "hi-gee" in your head every time you spot it in this article!
The term hygge exploded in popularity thanks to Danish culture. But it's actually an old Norwegian word that means wellbeing. The Danes adapted it to encompass coziness, comfort, and the feeling of contentment.
Cozy vs. Hygge: What's the Difference?
The essential difference between the two is how much your environment and the presence of others matter. When we think of being cozy, we might imagine snuggling up under the blankets on a cold night. Maybe we picture ourselves wearing fleece loungewear when the house is chilly.
Hygge includes all these concepts but adds in a social aspect. The best part of hygge is sharing it with others. Sitting around the fire and drinking mulled wine with friends. Or cooking a homemade, natural meal with your family in a warm, candle-lit kitchen.
Hygge is often used to talk about togetherness. After all, what's better than being cozy with another person? These close social bonds might be why Nordic countries tend to be the happiest in the world!
Benefits of Hygge Living
Not only is the concept of hygge lovely on its own, but it's also good for you! Since the lifestyle encourages people to slow down and appreciate the small things in life, it can lower stress levels. Surveys with citizens of over 36 countries showed that the Danes are the least stressed!
Other mental, physical, and social benefits of the hygge lifestyle include:
- Increased happiness
- More self-love and self-care routines
- Decreased desire for consumerism
- Development of healthy stress coping strategies
- Lower levels of anxiety and depression
- More optimistic and grateful
- Better sleep cycle
- Ability to maintain a healthy weight
- Increased intimacy and togetherness
- Improved social relationships
- Less time spent with technology
It almost sounds too good to be true! But stress does impact almost every part of your life. When you embrace this Scandinavian lifestyle, you'll probably start to see these wonderful benefits!
Hygge: Cozy Lifestyle Ideas
The hygge lifestyle relies on home decor, activities, and food. These tiny lifestyle changes can result in feelings of coziness, happiness, and relaxation.
Studies have linked higher relaxation to dimmer, warmer lighting. Think candles, warm-toned bulbs, and twinkle lights. Opt for floor lamps and table lamps with soft shades rather than overhead lights to set the mood.
A fireplace is the central part of hygge lighting. Not only does it provide actual warmth in the cold winters, but it makes everything look warmer. Imagine that lovely golden glow illuminating your cozy home, creating a wonderful sense of hygge.
A nature-inspired color palette will have your home feeling hygge in no time. Start with a white base for snow, of course, and add soft greys, pinks, browns, and greens. Touches of gold hardware will bring warmth to the space as well.
Minimalists, beware! Hygge is all about mixing cozy textures and creating warmth. Consider rustic wood, faux fur blankets, and broken-in leather.
But your home isn't the only place you can incorporate hygge. Find the comfiest hyggebukser, a pair of pants you never want to take off, and some snuggly slippers. Warm, fuzzy socks and fleecy loungewear complete the look!
Warm comfort food and sharing meals with loved ones are Scandinavian traditions. Brew a pot of aromatic coffee, steep some fresh tea, or make a batch of mulled wine. Practice the art of breadmaking and pair your crusty bread with a hot stew.
Once you've got your rustic, homemade feast ready, gather the ones you love and eat. Share memories, things you're grateful for, and what makes you happy. Make sure you're surrounded by candles, with a roaring fire in the background!
Spending time with family, friends, and the people you love is the basis of hygge. That's what gives you all those amazing mental and emotional benefits! So call up your loved ones and invite them over for a chat, or better yet, give everyone a good hug.
Recent studies have found that hugs raise our oxytocin levels! Sometimes called the love hormone, it increases trust, empathy, and builds relationships. Who couldn't use a little more love in their lives, right?
Sharing life's little moments with loved ones is a critical part of hygge. But it doesn't have to mean sitting around all day. Danish people love hygge-inspired winter activities like skating, skiing, and hiking. You can also practice handicrafts like crocheting, knitting, or scrapbooking together.
Live Your Best Hygge Life!
The hygge cozy lifestyle emphasizes family time, social connections, and slowing down. Stopping to appreciate life, give gratitude, and make time for self-care. Filling your home with soft, warm accessories and muted lighting will set the perfect tone.
Every home should be a refuge or a cozy place. Since fire creates cozy moments, why not add hygge elements to increase the wellbeing of your family.
Explore our range of fireplaces to find your best fit. Whether you prefer gas or wood, a stove or a built-in, We Love Fire has you covered! Visit one of our locations today and get ready to spend the holidays hygge'd up with loved ones.