The happiest countries in the world just so happen to be those that make up Scandinavia. Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, etc. These countries have made the top of the list for many years now, and it isn't by coincidence.
Though they may go by a different name, these countries follow a lifestyle called Hygge. Pronounced (hue-guh), Hygge is a Danish lifestyle based on living in the moment, being cozy, and spending time either alone or with close friends.
To Hygge does not have to involve just sitting alone in your room covered in a pile of blankets with burning candles and a mug of hot tea, although that is the version I prefer, it can also involve preparing and enjoying a hearty meal with your friends.
With finals approaching and seasonal depression setting in, some may find Hygge a nice, organic stress-reliever, much like meditation. On weekends and nights off, instead of going out and partying, staying in and taking time to be in the present and just simply relax may be what you needed.
Here are a few suggestions on how to Hygge
1. Cozy Blankets
My favorite aspect of Hygge is the appeal of texture. I am someone who is extremely sensitive to certain textures, so in order to fully relax and be cozy, I have to surround myself with soft materials. These can include blankets made of fleece, Sherpa, or those giant knitted blankets. A good tip for washing soft blankets, or any soft materials, is to wash them with towels and then let them air dry. That way, they don't pill or turn nasty!
2. Get Out of Day Clothes and into Pajamas
I never could understand how someone could come home and throw on jeans and "relax." I can surely take a nap in jeans if I'm tired enough, but when I'm trying to relax, the last thing I want to be wearing is clothes that are tainted by a stressful vibe. I'm the type of person to immediately change into my pj's when I'm done my tasks for the day, even if that means getting ready for bed at 3 p.m.!
Wearing pajamas means also wearing fuzzy socks! You can find them for cheap at Walgreens or CVS. If you're looking to splurge, Francesca's sells Slipper Socks lined with Sherpa. They also have a bunch of other adorable cozy socks and pj's.
Target sells Pajama Sets that come with a long sleeve shirt, shorts, socks, and a beanie! If that isn't the most amazing thing you've ever heard of Target selling, I don't know what is!
3. Hot Drinks
If your Hygge routine takes place in the morning, then you may want to go with a large mug of coffee or caffeinated tea. But if you're winding down from a long, stressful day, then hot cocoa or a calming tea like chamomile with some honey may be a better option.
Holding a mug of hot liquid is said to be calming in the action itself. Max Brenner actually made a mug specifically for this action and to appease to the senses, called the Hug Mug. It's perfectly shaped to fit into your hands and to sip.
4. Lighting and Sound
Turn off the offensive fluorescent lighting that haunts dorm rooms and reminds us of stress. Hygge is about ambiance as well. Bright white and blue lights keep us awake and also prevent our minds from ever relaxing. Warm hues like yellow-white lights are better and create a certain warmth to the room that imitates fire-glow where it cannot be had. Amazon sells amazing Tumblr aesthetic Curtain Lights that are super easy to hang with Command Hooks, safe to keep on for extended periods of time and emanate a soft, warm glow. Twinkle lights that use warm-hued lighting also work, as do table lamps.
If your living space allows candles, these work perfectly as well, especially if you don't have a fireplace. You can arrange candles of different heights to look like a fire, or just burn one or two on your bedside table to give light and also give off a scent you love. Besides candles that smell like food, Capri Blue's Volcano Candle is my favorite scent. Scandinavians actually burn the most candle wax annually because of their Hygge lifestyle. If you cannot have candles or incense burners, oil diffusers or electric wax warmers work perfectly as well.
If you're not someone who likes a lot of noise but also can't stand complete silence, you may want to check out Ambient-Mixer. It's a free website where you can create your own ambient tracks (think of white noise) or choose from thousands of pre-made tracks. Some even include your Hogwarts House's Common Room, Jane Austen at work, or sleeping next to your favorite celebrity or fictional character.
You can also put on a vinyl record and listen to that on low, listen to that Podcast you've been meaning to catch up on or listen to an Audiobook.
5. Do What You Love
Hygge should be an opportunity to do what you love, but don't get to usually do during busy periods. Like, reading a book, binging a Netflix series or watching beloved movies, writing poetry or the novel you've been trying to start, or painting the image that's been in your mind for weeks.
These are examples of what you can do alone, but you can also spend quality time with friends or your partner. Cook or bake together, or perhaps just cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie.
There is no right or wrong way to Hygge. It is all up to you on how you go about it, so long as you take time to be in the moment and relax. It does not require you to go out and spend money unless you want to, and you don't even have to set time aside in your busy schedule to Hygge. It can be as small as making yourself a cup of coffee in the morning and sitting down to drink it instead of rushing out the door with it.
There are plenty of suggestions on how to Hygge. There are even Books written about Hygge, as well as other Scandinavian practices. The most important thing about Hygge is to relax and be happy.