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).
What Is Hygge, and Why Is It Good for Your Well-Being?
Taking cues from the Danish art of getting comfy and cozy can definitely be a way to practice self-care.
People have been talking about “hygge” for a few years now. It’s the Danish word for coziness or feeling warm, comfortable, and safe, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. It was back in 2016 that The New Yorker reported it was the “year of hygge.”
And wellness experts say that if you haven’t joined the trend yet, these colder weather months are the perfect time to do so.
It’s not so much an activity you might choose to do or not do; hygge is more a way of life, one that makes ordinary moments feel special, pleasurable, and meaningful, according to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.
The concept of hygge is about creating a cozy, comforting physical environment: lighting candles, snuggling up with soft blankets, and consuming warm, soothing drinks. But it’s also (and perhaps more importantly) a mindset and a philosophy, Wiking explains.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things,” Wiking says. Hygge is also about creating a comforting social and emotional environment for yourself; it’s about who you choose to surround yourself with and what you choose to spend your time doing.
“It is about being with the people we love; a feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and are allowing ourselves to let our guard down,” Wiking says.
It’s not just the cooler weather that may make adopting a hygge mindset attractive; it’s a way to take care of yourself during a time filled with all sorts of worldwide stressors and negative news cycles, says Holly Schiff, PsyD, a Connecticut-based licensed clinical psychologist for Jewish Family Services of Greenwich.
“During this time of uncertainty and stress, we crave consistency, predictability, and a sense of control,” Schiff explains. As such, she notes that hygge practices and its emphasis on self-care can help individuals exercise control amid uncontrollable circumstances.