I have spent pockets of the day today curled up with The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah, I think?) is a Danish and Norwegian concept that, roughly translated, means coziness or everyday togetherness. I didn’t read Wiking’s book cover-to-cover – just skimmed and perused and soaked up little tidbits. It seems like hygge is all about simplicity, modesty, and functionality.
Tee, Teddy, and I have a pretty hygge lifestyle – coffee, campfires, a cozy little wood stove, piles of books in every room, crossword puzzles, giant mugs. Today I baked bread. Definitely hygge. (Wiking says that the longer it takes to prepare something, the more hygge it is.)
Today has been a lovely hygge Sunday. There are days when I wake up and don’t know to do with myself. I hate those days. Having a day like that gets me all anxious and indecisive and frazzled. Having a day like that usually means that I’m not in touch with myself – my gut isn’t talking to me. I’m disconnected and purposeless. That feels awful.
Today, however, was not one of those days.This morning, I woke up and my Sunday just naturally flowed from activity to activity, with no pre-planning and little anxiety or self-doubt.
Before Teddy woke up, I went for a run on the trail. I started baking bread soon after Teddy was up. The process of baking bread, in addition to being very hygge, always brings a really sweet and comfortable rhythm to my day. You stir in the flour, and you let the dough rise. You knead, and then you let the dough rise. You divide, and then you let the dough rise. If you rush things, your end result may be disappointing. But if you take your time and give the whole process the patience and mindfulness that it requires – well, then, you get yummy bread to dip in olive oil like a fancy lady.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my need to slow things down. I find myself sprinting and crashing through my days – rushing to get home, rushing to get to work, rushing, rushing, all day long. Hygge is not about rushing – it’s about taking your time. “It’s choosing rustic over new, simple over posh, and ambience over excitement,” per Wiking’s book.
I’ll write more about my attempts to slow down soon. For now – here are a few random hygge tips and takeaways:
- Link purchases to big events – i.e., I bought this comfy chair when I got my new job.
- Set up a hyggekrog – a little nook for cozy reading and writing with a hot drink nearby.
- Celebrate solstice. It’s all about rhythm and ritual.
- Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
How do you hygge? 🙂