Why We All Need A Little Hygge In Our Lives
Hygge. Pronounced 'hue-gah', it's the 2016 word of the year (yes that is a thing), and refers to the feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day things more meaningful, beautiful or special.
Much more than just a buzzword for stores trying to sell you more scandi-style cushions and candles, the concept of hygge is something we could really all benefit from. The idea of enjoying and taking interest in an everyday task relates closely to ideas of mindfulness and meditation, yet making them more easily accessible. Take those of us who find taking the time to switch off and mediate difficult for example - taking time and enjoyment in what is otherwise an everyday task could be our opportunity to relax, destress and find clarity. So as the hygge-phonemon hits the UK, we take a look at how hygge and health really aren't worlds apart.
SLOWING DOWN + TAKING YOUR TIME
The Hygge situation: 'The rain pattering down outside, the heating turned up: jazz classics play whilst you slowly stir the bubbling porridge on the stove, brew a fresh pot of coffee and get out your favourite bowl, ready to serve'.
How many times have you raced through our everyday tasks, for no reason other than to get it finished so we can do something else? Taking your time, enjoying the experience and looking forward to the outcome can help you calm down, relax and focus, helping to relieve cortisol levels and stress-related problems. And it's not just cooking (or taking a shower/your nightly skincare ritual/walking to work), taking your time whilst eating and adopting 'mindful eating' techniques can also help you digest your food better, feel fuller afterwards and more satisfied.
SPENDING TIME ALONE
The Hygge situation: 'A weekend at home, a trip to the bakery, a walk with the park wrapped in your favourite winter woollies, your favourite things, just you and yourself'.
A common occurrence with Hygge? Cosy nights in, evenings at home: something we're all more than happy about as we head into Winter. But at the same time, gone are the summer evenings with friends and a packed social calendar, and sometimes getting used to time alone is hard. But the benefits of persisting are undeniable: being alone allows you to drop your social guard, giving you the freedom for reflection, perspective and gratitude, to think for yourself and to become comfortable in your own company, loving yourself more - something we could all benefit from.
COOKING FOR FRIENDS
The Hygge situation: 'Surrounded by your closest, the table set for a feast, the smell of slow cooked stew, roasting vegetables and mulled wine filling the air'.
As the winter months kick in, drinking cold-pressed juices and eating raw veggies (or leaving the house for that matter...) seem far less appealing: cue stews, roast veg and all the comforting food. Slow cooked stews and soups are some of the healthiest home-cooked options, needing little more than seasonal veg, meat, pulses, grains, herbs and spices to create a delicious meal. As for the red wine? It's one of the lowest sugar options as the fructose in the grapes ferments to become alcohol, leaving a low-sugar end product, as well as being packed full of antioxidants!
The Hygge Situation: 'Nothing but you and our favourite movie: the lights are dimmed, candles lit, cashmere blanket and creamy turmeric latte waiting'.
What's hygge without a turmeric latte after all? Away from delicious, creamy drinks though, this still sends an important message: how many times do you actually let yourself switch off in the evening? We mean laptop away, phone away, absolutely no access to your work emails or social media, no leaving the office at 8pm, no writing to-do lists for the next day, no 'but I could be working' guilt: just 100% totally completely switched off. Giving yourself this down-time is proven to help decrease stress levels, as well as lead to a more alert and creative mindset during work hours. And what's better than looking forward to getting home and indulging in 'you time' after all - even a Wednesday night at home feels like a treat now.
EMBRACE THE HYGGE
We've called it - it's the winter of hygge, because I think we can all agree it's time we invest some quality love, time and appreciation into ourselves this Winter. And because let's face it, a season of candles, cushions, scandi-decor, farmers market trips, slow cooked stews, dinner parties and nights in really doesn't sound too hard - all in the name of Hygge and self-love after all.