How to Hygge in 2018

Stephanie Specht's picture
By Stephanie Specht on January 2, 2018

Sometimes dealing with the everyday doldrums and rigors of life can start to feel like a bit too much for all of us. Work, school, kids, etc.

Fitting it all in and getting it all done can be difficult, and add on top of that the pressure to always do more and do it better, life can start to feel overwhelming.
 
While it is never a bad thing to work harder and try to improve, it is also very important for our mental health to take time to slow down and connect with your surroundings and those you care about.
 
So as we head into a new year, it just might be the perfect time to take a page from our Danish friends and bring a little more hygge into our lives.
 
Maybe make it a hygge year?
 
What is Hygge?
 
Pronounced "hue-guh,” hygge is an intimate, mindful sense of contentment that is about comfort and connection with family and friends.
 
“Hygge is about creating simple habits and traditions that reinforce comfort, satisfaction and a sense of belonging,” added Robert L. Trestman, Ph.D., M.D., chair of Carilion Clinic Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

It is also an innate part of Danish culture, which happens to be considered one of the happiest places in the world, so they could be on to something.
 
How Can You Hyggeize Your Life?  
 
Don’t worry. We are not talking about reaching some higher level of enlightenment. It is really about keeping it simple, making your surroundings cozy and connecting with those you care about.
 
Dr. Trestman suggests these simple acts to get a little more hygge in your routine:

  • Add a simple flickering candle to your bedside table as you read a book on dark winter evenings  
  • Spend time over coffee, snacks or meals with family and friends  
  • Bundle up and take a walk, actually looking at the things around you  
  • Cozy up with a new book or a conversation with a friend or loved one  

These simple acts are hygge!
 
“Social support and resilience have long been recognized as critical elements in health,” noted Dr. Trestman. “Hygge is simply a concrete expression of a way to create and reinforce those key facets in our lives.”
 
How Can This Help You?
 
Slowing down does not mean you are lazy. It lets you make those connections we are sometimes missing on a daily basis with ourselves and our loved ones.
 
“When you consider for a moment the stresses in everyday life—the frustrations, the unmet goals, the things we might have done but did not get around to—building into our routine a foundation of self-care, of basic comfort and connectedness to family and friends, creates a resilient network that buffers us against the other stresses and reminds us of what is really important and meaningful,” explained Dr. Trestman.

Are you ready to give hygge a try in 2018? I think I will. Just need to grab my thick, cozy socks; a warm blanket; and nestle on the couch in front of a warm fire with my favorite human (or not. One-to-one hygge works too!). See you in the spring!