How to… Hygge? Part I

I know, I know, I’m about a year later on the whole hygge trend. In the fall of 2016 I saw hygge related things splashed across blogs, Instagram accounts, and bookstores everywhere I looked, but the lack of any actual information as to what it is kept me from paying any attention to it. However, after coming across How To Hygge the British Way, I was intrigued and decided to request The Little Book of Hygge from the library. I am about halfway through and I must say, it’s given me a lot of thoughts!

How to Hygge, Part I

So, hygge. Perhaps a little difficult to pronounce (and wrap our heads around) for those of us not familiar with Danish language and culture, hygge is finding pleasure and happiness in the simple rituals and cozy moments of life. Meik Viking, the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute (yes, that is a real thing), approaches the concept from a personal standpoint, but also a sociological standpoint. I am really enjoying the ever so slightly academic approach, as I think that it is really making me think more about what I’m reading! As someone who tends to get lost in stress- to the point where I am physically and mentally unwell- hygge is a particularly interesting concept.

30045683Via Goodreads

The Opposite of Hygge

Hello! I am the Historian, and I’m about as Type-A as they come! I’m a perfectionist who will spend hours upon hours perfecting something until it must be done with, and even then, I’m probably still unhappy with at least two things. I often have the thought process, “how can I possibly relax when I have X, Y, and Z to do?” Hygge is all about finding the slow and relaxing way of doing and enjoying things, and it is quite different than I am used to.

I’ve decided to make myself a routine before going to bed- an hour before bed, I do ten to twenty minutes of light yoga, and then read a physical book until it’s time to go to bed. Comfy socks for sleeping, extra pillows for reading, the whole bit. While it’s only been a week, and some nights haven’t been the whole routine, it is nice to know that I’ve set aside time to really do nothing. Paired with my evening walk, I am noticing a difference in my stress levels when I go to bed!

Christmas Tree Hunting 2016

Why Does This Exist?

This is just a personal theory of mine (that might show up later in the book??), but I think that hygge has much to do with winter and your climate. Meik discusses similar schools of thought in Canada (our hominess), Germany, and the Netherlands- all places that have at least somewhat cold winters where SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) may be a larger issue. Danes largely associate hygge with being at home, and you have to enjoy your home when it’s too cold to spend huge amounts of time outside.

I have read the section on hygge food, and I think that’s a European thing. Eating hygge is allowing yourself to indulge in candy, cakes, and other delicious but perhaps not so good for you foods*- if you live in Europe where walking is a huge mode of transportation, this works. However, in North America, our cities aren’t necessarily set up to walk everywhere, and self control isn’t known to be a North American trait.

(*It is also making enjoying slow made foods that are more about the making than the eating, ie. jams, stews, breads.)

Pug Dog Blanket

Can I Hygge?

I should be finished reading The Little Book of Hygge by the end of the week. I’m going to try and work hygge into my life from now until Christmas- four months to see if this Danish way of life leads to a happier and calmer Historian! What I’ve really taken away thus far is that hygge is largely a social practice- hygge is not typically you sitting with a book, a mug of tea, and a cozy throw (as Instagram would have you believe), but rather spending time with those you love and enjoying these things together! Denmark is consistently rated the happiest country in the world, so maybe there is something to it….

Have you read The Little Book of Hygge? What do you think of hygge?

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

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16 thoughts on “How to… Hygge? Part I

  1. LaurenEph August 20, 2017 / 3:44 am

    I really liked this book! It taught me that hygge is much more social than I realised and it’s also about traditions and routines. You’ve prompted me to pick up the book again and have another read. I’ll look forward to part 2 😊

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown August 20, 2017 / 2:15 pm

      I can definitely see getting more out of it in re-reads! It’s definitely NOT what the common image of barracading yourself from the world, that seems to be everywhere :/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fancypaperblog August 20, 2017 / 4:37 am

    I love this concept. I think I actually was very practised before I had babies but now I hygge differently😀

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown August 20, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      I’ve noticed that many criticism’s of the book are that you can’t hygge with kids running around. I think that hygge certainly would look different with kids, but it’s not incompatible!! I think that we all have quiet and cozy moments with our parents as kids, and those are so important 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thebeasley August 20, 2017 / 5:31 am

    I loved this book. I read it last Christmas and it made me all cosy. I’m here all day, everyday for the eating lots of cake bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown August 20, 2017 / 2:29 pm

      While I don’t let myself every day(because I don’t know that I *can* just have a small piece), I think that treating yourself in some way is important! A life made entirely of deprivation is no life- BRING ON THE CAKE!!! (And the cookies… and the muffins…) I love that Christmas plays such a large role in hygge! As a Christmas fanatic, I plan to fully embrace this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley August 21, 2017 / 4:57 am

        I LOVE Christmas. Mainly for all the food & drink I consume. I’m so Hygge x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharon E. Cathcart August 20, 2017 / 8:15 am

    I read the book as well, and found the concept intriguing. I have, however, utterly failed to incorporate it into my life. I tend to try to Do All The Things At Once rather than, as you did, picking one thing and incorporating it. I think i need to revisit the book and just pick one thing to try. Thanks for writing!

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown August 20, 2017 / 2:30 pm

      When I first started reading, I definitely had the thought of “DO ALL THE THINGS NOW!!”, and then I realised that not only would I have to probably move my entire living space around (in addition to buy stuff), I decided to go with the least stressful way to try it out haha. Let me know what you pick!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. angelanoelauthor August 20, 2017 / 9:21 am

    I love the simplicity and celebration of little things hygge embodies. I like your plan for bringing some of this into your life. Looking forward to learning how it works for you.

    Like

  6. gigglingfattie August 20, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    AHH! You have no contact page so I gots to do this here: CONGRATULATIONS! you won my contest!! Head over to my contact page and send me your shipping details! WOOO HOOO!!!!

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown August 20, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      NO WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!! (And now I’m also off to find where the heck my contact page went….)

      Like

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