As social distancing continues and the cold weather looms, it will become increasingly difficult to spend evenings meeting with friends at the park or do other socially distanced outdoor activities. Taking lessons from one of the world’s happiest countries, make the best of this time by setting aside a few evenings at home to focus on self-care and relaxation, whether that be by yourself, with roommates or family.
Hygge, pronounced "hue-guh", a centerpiece of Danish culture, actually has no direct English translation.
“I’d define it as coziness or the essence of coziness,” Danish-American sophomore Alex Kessaris said.
This Danish concept turned global trend originated to help combat the influence of Denmark’s long and dark winters, which will be perfect to keep in mind for the months ahead.
“Hygge really permeates your mindset about life,” Kessaris said. “I always try to embrace it here at home and spread it to my friends.”
The first step to a cozy night filled with hygge is having an appropriate environment. Hygge is about embracing comfort in your environment, but that means something different for everyone. Most often people think of lighting candles or turning on some soft lighting, putting on fuzzy socks and warm blankets and maybe playing some quiet music.
Your environment is also about who you surround yourself with and where you are mentally. Hygge is something to be practiced with others, but at the core of togetherness is the importance of being present in the moment. Get off social media and enjoy quality time with those closest to you.
While hygge may sound a little confusing at first, the next step to embracing the concept is really simple: Do whatever makes you feel warm, cozy and content.
Hygge can range from drinking hot cider, wearing a face mask, reading a book and cuddling up in bed alone to trying out a new recipe when making dinner and playing cards with neighbors.
Unsure of how you can practice hygge? A great place to start is by lighting some candles, turning on some string lights, grabbing a sweet treat and warm drink, getting cozy under a blanket and warm clothes and reading that book you’ve been wanting to read or watching that movie you’ve been wanting to see.
For a night stuck at home without plans, turn to hygge for moments of joy, self-care and solace, which will continue to be essential for everyone as 2020 comes to a close.