I have been trying to come up with a definition of the “essence of hygge” or the “basics of hygge” and I think my conclusion is that the essence of hygge is taking your time to enjoy something. Or in other words, hygge means no stressing or rushing. Even coffee and cake is no guarantee for hygge if you don’t take your time to enjoy it. Imagine indulging in a nice sweet and sticky piece of cake with a cup of hot brew and then suddenly you discover that you have to leave the house in two minutes? Gone is all the hygge in a flash of a second!
Almost anything can be hygge as long as you do not stress or rush through it. That is why I think the most important factor for hygge is the absence of stress or rush. You have to allow yourself to take your time in order to get that hygge feeling.
Hygge does not have to include wool socks, hot chocolate, cake or a lamb skin throw (although all these things certainly help). All you really need is the time to enjoy the pleasure of being in the moment. It can be enjoying your shower for five minutes longer, taking your time while carrying out everyday tasks such as cooking, baking or watering the flowers. If you play nice music and turn on some warm lights you can create an atmosphere that encourages you to get into the hygge feeling even while cooking. Maybe even while folding laundry… although I think it might take a lot of hygge-practice to be able to enjoy that one…
The other day I was in the backyard with our two-year old son who is my little “hygge mentor”. Eager to get inside for lunch I was about to rush him out of his hygge time in nature when we suddenly discovered a beautiful caterpillar with lightblue dots on a burned orange background. We had never seen anything like it and he enjoyed touching it and tried to feed it like a little pet. There we sat for one of those moments where you forget about time – and even hunger – while the sun warmed us and made the moment even more beautiful. It is one of those “Golden memories” that I can see clearly in my mind even though I did not get a photo of it. I was too absorbed in the moment. Yet again, our little son showed me how to take time to enjoy some hygge instead of rushing.
This is what hygge is all about – seizing opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures that life offers us. All around there are lots of things just waiting to be turned into moments of hygge and joy! Maybe you could even go as far as to call hygge a form of everyday meditation as you create a moment where you focus on the joy of the moment and forget about stress and worries for a little while. If you have comments on this topic or would like to share some examples of how you get hygge into your life I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Happy as a Dane,
What a wonderful story on how a 2 year old can bring such perspective into our lives!