It seems like, with every new season, there is a new fad sweeping the nation. Feng Shui, Marie Kondo, the Japanese art of decluttering book, Norwex, “open concept” design…you get the idea, and you’ve most likely heard all these words or catchphrases the first time and wondered; now what?
I heard a new one the other day I want to share with you, because unlike most of the fads that cycle in and out of public opinion I found this one tried and true. With a twist of a strange word.
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone, or with family, friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming or special.
Everything I’ve read about this “practice” is broad, a little vague, yet easy. The bottom line is creating a space that is personal to you alone, or with a partner, friend or family. It’s about creating an atmosphere of calm contentment. Being purposeful about comfort, lighting, scents, and food.
A beautiful aspect of Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) is there is no learning curve. It isn’t a marketable thing and if someone tells you otherwise they either don’t understand it or they are literally trying to sell you something that has nothing to do with the concept. You can’t buy a ‘hygge living room’ and there’s no “hygge scented candle or ‘hygge foods’ to eat. Again, it’s about making it personal to you.
Let’s go over a few simple aspects of what this is in it’s simplest basic form.
Set the mood with lighting. Soft, indirect lighting. No overhead lights! Keep it soft, candles are my favorite. Every Friday night we light candles, eat homemade bread, and momma has some wine. It is my favorite night of the week.
The power of scents
Smell-fragrance/essential oils/incense – this is the part that piqued my interest. Did you know that smell and emotion & memory is scientifically proven? Open a brand new box of crayons and suddenly you’re in kindergarten! A fragrance that a close relative wore triggers fond (or the opposite) of memories. You create memories for your children simply by creating a scent. So be purposeful. Diffuse oils, burn incense, simmer orange, cinnamon, and apples on the stove. Some scent that your children will associate with the comfort of your home and how they felt content. That’s what we strive for every week.
Streamline if you have small kids, and I mean stream line everything. Busy homes with excess clutter; toys, books, broken items. These are stress time bombs waiting to happen. Purge the excess items that are; broken, or useless. By purge I mean throw away or donate. Make sure everything has a place. A book shelve, toy~box or cabinet so it is out of sight. This may require some before hand preparations, but it is worth it for your peace of mind.
Wrap yourself in the coziest of blankets, put on your fuzziest socks, and snuggle the people you treasure the most. The reality can sometimes be a challenge when you have multiple young children. Why not set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes of individual attention. Ask your child what his or her favorite part of the day was. Or affirm them by telling them how special they are and what makes them unique.
Food & Beverage
Weather it is hot chocolate, a glass of wine, buttered popcorn, pizza, or a slice of cake. Take time to make that meal or snack special. If it is a cheat meal (if you are dieting) savor every bite and don’t have the TV or computer on.
The entire point of Hygge is being purposeful, being present. Set it on the calendar like a date night, and prepare for your special event the days leading up to it. Simply because stay at home moms are with your kids everyday, does not mean you are “with them everyday.” Buy candles, plan the meal. Make sure your favorite blanket is clean, bake or order a special dessert if you wish. Turn off your laptop, TV, your phone, your tablet and allow yourself to go old school for a few hours. Bust out a board game, or cards. Look at the people you love in the eye, laugh, be still, be calm. These could be the moments you remember years down the road.