Hygge, also dubbed the Danish art of cosiness, doesn’t have a proper English translation, but can be described as a coping mechanism to help you get through the dark winter days. Its origin is to be found in Old Norse, where it referred to a concept we now call wellbeing. Although all Scandinavian countries are notorious for their cold and long winters, it’s the Danes that have truly embraced hygge and made it into an important symbol of their cultural identity. No wonder they score top ranks in the World Happiness Index!
In its purest form, hygge celebrates togetherness and a soothingly warm atmosphere. That’s why Christmas definitely is hygge’s peak season. Here are a few tips on how to stay hygge during the Holidays.
Find joy in the simple things
Happiness shouldn’t be reduced to those life-changing moments. Nor to receiving gifts or to filling your days to the brim, trying to make your holiday legendary. Hygge teaches us that happiness can be found in the little things. It’s about slowing down and savouring the moment. It’s about that joy you feel when you get home and turn on the Christmas lights. Or when you watch Home Alone for the zillionth time in your pyjamas. Or when you kick off your shoes after Christmas dinner and feel the soothing softness of the carpet.
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Home is where the hygge is
Is it raining outside? Ideal time to make your home into a hygge heaven. Think tons of candles and fairy lights, soft blankets and velvety cushions. Add some extra natural textures, such as wood, leather and plants, and play around with different tactile finishes. Who would have thought that Scandinavian design actually contributes to your wellbeing!
Forget about the low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free and whatever-free. From time to time you should just treat yourself! Indulge in that glorious Christmas dinner and say yes to dessert.
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Hygge promotes togetherness and presence. So switch off those mobile phones and televisions and do something else during the holiday period. Put on your hyggebukser (the Danish word for sweatpants) and curl up in the sofa with a good book and a cup of coffee. Or knit a sweater, make a puzzle, bake some cookies, take a bath, … the possibilities are endless.
While all of the above activities can be done alone and in the comfort of your own home, going outside and spending time with friends and family also is a key part of hygge. Just like Christmas, hygge revolves around being with the ones you love and enjoying each other’s company.
Hygge at work
Although it seems easier to create hygge at home or on holiday, you should also try to bring this mindset to the office. Because we spend so much of our time at work, it’s important to find comfort and wellbeing at your workplace. While lighting candles might not be the best way to start creating that hyggelig atmosphere, there are a few things that you can keep in mind.
- Decorate your desk. Bring some decorations you like from home, or ask your boss for the credit card and go to Ikea (great teambuilding activity too).
- Keep a blanket or scarf at work, then you can feel all snug and warm during cold days.
- Don’t spend your lunchbreak behind your computer. Use that time to take a walk, or to do something else that distracts you from your to-do list.
- Add plants and greenery. Having something around you that connects you to nature is good for you. Plus, it also provides extra oxygen.
- Bring cake to work. Everyone will secretly love you!
- Be nice to your colleagues. Ask them how their weekend was. And don't be afraid to embrace teamwork, it gets the creative juices flowing.
- Get your acoustics right. No one likes a noisy work environment.
Want to learn how you can improve office acoustics? Read all about our dBack acoustic backing here.
Did you know that we organise RIBA approved CPD presentations in the UK about wellbeing at the office?
Get in touch for more information.