Hygge

Owl Leadership Program

Athena Workshops

Hygge

More than just the Danish translation for cosyness, it's a way of life!


Recently I was struggling to find the right words to describe the cosy, warm and contemplative winter atmosphere that everyone experiences together with their loved ones during this time of the year. A feeling everyone knows but still seems to be quite hard to put into one's words. When I finally felt that I could present a first draft to a colleague, she smiled and said “hygge!”. I was quite perplexed about her excitement. She explained that the text fully expressed the feeling of “hygge”.  Frustrated, she realized that she could not put the explanation simply into words. Instead, she searched for a translation and showed me the Google picture results.

Hygge is Danish and translates  "to make yourself / someone else feel at home, cosiness". The picture results spoke for themselves, each one showed a room full with cosy furniture and accessoires that made one dream to just relax in the living room.

The imagery took me back to my days in Scandinavia where the cities are filled with similarly furnished coffee-, furniture- and knick-knackshops, creating an atmosphere of warmth and cosiness. Similarily, my co-worker gave me a simple word to capture this whole atmosphere.

What exactly is hygge? Below you find (in my opinion) the most important aspects of hygge:

Living

“Home is where the heart is” -unknown

Is there a better feeling than throwing oneself on the couch or in the comfy armchair and rest a little bit, after a long day at work? I don’t think so. The goal of a "hygge-room" is to create an atmosphere where your home feels comfortable and invites you to rest and enjoy the moment. Small details such as the lightning, cussions, candles, plants and blankets make the difference.

Family & Friends

“Shared happiness, is doubled happiness”  -unknown

As the proverb states, it is always nice to spend time with each other. No matter if we spend it with family or friends, the shared time is an important part of our lives. The power and love of one’s community is priceless.

Food

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” -unknown

This proverb is not only valuable for couples, but also for oneself, or at least for me. If one takes the time to buy or prepare fresh food, one does not only a good deed for one's health but also for oneself. It’s not about eating the healthiest veggies, rather than to treat oneself with something special. It is not a coincidence that the hygge-loving Danes are on top of the European list of candies consumed per capita.

Time

“Time we take for ourselves, is time, that gives us something back.”   -Ernst Ferstl

In our stressed everyday life, it is practically impossible to take time for oneself because we already have a lack of it. On the contrary hygge focuses on taking time for oneself especially if there’s not much time. It is about taking time out, to appreciate the small things in life and recharge your batteries.

To sum up, hygge can be everything, taking some time off for oneself and reading a book, going out with friends and spending a lovely evening together or just redecorating one’s home. The most important part, enjoy the little things!