Healthy Habits: Let's Get Hygge

A Danish trend to cozy up your home and habits

by SHFamily | Tue, April 18, 2017

I recently read an article about a movement and lifestyle trend called hygge. It’s a strange sounding word in English (pronounced hoog’uh) but is originally Danish and means sublime coziness. 

I love this idea and had to share it because we all want to live comfortably and relaxed. It resonates with me because it fits so well as part of my personal movement to a yin-style of living: slower paced, practicing and teaching Yin Yoga along with food therapy, and not stressing so much.

In English we all love the word “cozy” but in the context of the word hygge it’s describing a way of life, and the concept involves creating cozy environments and making time for getting hygge or relaxed. Comfort, warmth, and relaxation come to mind. It is also synonymous with snug, comfortable, warm, homelike, homey, welcoming, safe, sheltered, and secure.

So how do you try this new Danish lifestyle and cozy trend hygge? I’ve listed some ideas to get you started:

 • Create an area with a comfortable sofa and cushions on a textured rug  in your living room.

 • Have some good books on hand.

 • Use a warm heater if you are starting this in winter (or nice green plants and a fan, perhaps, for summer).

 • Stock up on candles, ideally chemical-free.

 • Dig out your favorite warm socks, or buy a new pair of thick wool natural fiber ones.

 • Get your favorite teas/coffee ready for your relaxing hygge time, which could also be called “cozy self-care time.” (We always need more of that!)

 • Treat yourself to a nice piece of (healthy) cake, raw chocolate, or creamy dessert; this definitely adds to the comforting experience if you like (healthy) sweets like me.

 • Bake something aromatic-smelling in your oven, or cook simply as a way to relax at home.

 • Make a huge homemade smoothie or fresh juice and enjoy it in your hygge nook or balcony.

I am so happy that this concept of coziness is becoming popular and an actual lifestyle trend, because as a health coach I always advocate for people to look after themselves. Make it a priority to set aside time for relaxing, and for doing things that you enjoy and to indulge yourself. This is especially important for women, and those with children; you need to make time just for yourself, and enable the body to get comfortable.

In Europe, it seems the cultural vibe is relatively happy and relaxed, with the added benefit of a high quality of life. The Danish are at the top of such  indices, showing them to be the “happiest people on earth.” There have been many books written on how to hygge, incorporating food, recipes, homewares, and things you can have in your home to create a comfortable environment. 

This makes good sense and I would love to inspire more people in Asia and China to adopt this kind of slow-paced lifestyle, something previous generations found easier to achieve. You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a whole new living room, rugs, or tea service. And, admittedly, it may not be sitting around a fire with chocolate cake and coffee, something which counts as my grandma’s style of hygge. But we can observe in Chinese culture equivalent cozy behaviors, such as visiting tea houses, playing mahjong in the park, and doing tai chi or qi gong, which usually take place outside of the home and not in a personal space or corner of your living room.

With the growth in incomes in China, and emergence of more lifestyle brands, I believe that the hygge concept is possible here. We just need to make the time, slow down and enjoy staying home and being with ourselves and family. This can also include watching movies at home, cuddling and finding a real enjoyment from living in the moment and “being” rather than “doing.”

Take the time to enjoy your sofa/meditation corner/reading room or personal relaxation area. I have a lovely sofa and definitely don’t use it enough, so I am going to start by promising myself to spend more time sitting, reading and napping on it during my days off. 

By Kimberly Ashton