What is hygge and how can we follow it in Australia?

Despite having up to 17 hours of darkness per day in the depths of winter, and average temperatures hovering around zero degrees, Denmark is currently rated as the world’s most contented nation and here is why…

Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ is an integral part of Danish life and is believed to be the major contributing factor to the Danish being some of the happiest people on the planet.

So what is it?

Hygge is a term that names our desire for comfort, simplicity and peacefulness. It’s a philosophy for living that encompasses warmth, togetherness, safety, familiarity and contentment. It is essentially about delighting in life’s simple pleasures.

No wonder, then, it was one of last year’s biggest lifestyle trends in Europe. Here are some easy ways us Aussies can bring a little dose of hygge into our life.

    1. Light candles
      A simple flickering candle is considered one of the most fundamental parts of hygge. Steer away from scented candles, which Danes consider artificial, and opt for natural beeswax if you can.
    2. Prioritize family meals
      Spending time with family and friends – especially around mealtimes – is a key way to step back and enjoy each other’s company. Researchers now increasingly acknowledge the importance of getting together around the table to eat dinner and talk over the day.
    3. Step out and enjoy nature
      Embracing hygge doesn’t require you to spend all day indoors and here in Australia we are lucky enough to have beautiful weather all throughout the year, even in winter. Unlike Denmark, we have up to 15 hours of sunlight during summer, take advantage of this by going for a walk and taking time to observe nature and the landscape or simply find a quiet place to sit and take in your surroundings.
    4. Switch off from technology
      Give yourself permission to tune out and unplug from the stresses of a constantly connected lifestyle. We all know the pressure on us to be readily available via our smartphones but being able to have quality face-to-face conversation with your loved ones is a fundamental part of hygge. Try creating at least one screen-free room in your home or allocating certain hours throughout each day that you will lock all your devices away.
    5. Indulge a little
      What you eat is also essential to creating cosy, hygge vibes. In Denmark that might mean pastries, meatballs, and copious amounts of coffee, but in Australia you might want to pour yourself a warm tea, dig up your grandma’s favourite recipe, or spend a weekend afternoon baking your favourite cookies.
    6. Share the spirit
      Hygge is about continually gathering with loved ones to bond over a familiar and recurring ritual. While winter is the obvious time for all things hygge, Danes practice this concept year round. Some ideas for summer activities with your loved ones include picnics in the park, backyard dinner parties and BBQ’s, bonfires on the beach and outdoor movie nights. It could even be something as simple as savouring a morning cup of coffee together.