Learn all about this cozy Danish lifestyle and incorporate it into your daily college routine.
I first heard of hygge (pronounced "hoo-ga") around two years ago when I found myself falling down a YouTube rabbit hole. I came across a Refinery29 video in which its host tries five days of hygge, a Danish way of living. I was fairly interested throughout the duration of the video, but I ultimately abandoned all curiosity about this foreign concept - that is, until I went to New York City last March. While I was in New York, I saw Disney's "Frozen" on Broadway, in which the second act opens with the cast performing a showy number entitled "Hygge." And thus, the spark was reignited.
So recently, I've decided to embrace my Danish heritage and explore the true meaning and value of hygge. I began my exploration with Meik Wiking's book, "The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living." While hygge can't be translated into an exact English word, it does come from the Norwegian word that means "well being."
Explaining the word can be difficult because there's no exact definition or translation, but hygge is essentially an atmosphere, an experience, and a feeling. It's drinking hot chocolate on a snow day or listening to a thunderstorm by a warm fireplace. My personal favorite description of hygge in Wiking's book is "the coziness of the soul."
However, being the busy college student that I am, it can be tough to remember to slow down and be as cozy and content as the Danes. So, here are my top five ways to incorporate hygge into your daily college routine so that you can lead a happier and cozier lifestyle.
1. Turn off all electronics
The word hygge first appeared in the 1800s, meaning that phones and electronics are 100% NOT necessary to enjoy this lifestyle. Instead of Netflix, bring out the board games. Instead of playing Spotify, focus more on the absence of sounds, so you can hear nature's music instead. Thunder, wind and rain are all very hygge.
2. Keep a hyggeligt jar on your nightstand or desk
Think of a hyggeligt (which can mean "cake," "coffee" or "hot chocolate") jar like a cookie jar — fill it with your favorite sweets that you can snack on when you want to treat yourself. Hygge is about forgetting the demands of a healthy lifestyle for a moment, and instead being kind to yourself. I personally like to snack on small pieces of dark chocolate, but if you really want to do it like the Danes, always keep some cake nearby (they have a serious obsession).
3. Dress like a Dane
Comfort is key when it comes to hyggelig clothing. It's time to break out your winter clothing, because you'll need sweaters, woolen socks, and scarves. Go for a black monochrome look, with form-fitting pants and a bulky sweater on top. And again, don't forget the scarf (Danes love scarves almost as much as they love cake).
4. Create your own hyggekrog
A hyggekrog, which roughly translates to "nook," is an essential part of hygge. Find a corner or nook in your living space and fill it with blankets, pillows and other hyggelig decorations. This can include wooden decor, plants, and books. This should be your place where you can relax after a long day, with a hot drink in your hand and a pair of woolen socks on your feet.
5. Use flameless candles
The most important aspect of hygge is light — more specifically, candles. However, college residence halls and sororities/fraternities don't typically allow candles because they are a fire hazard. An alternative would be flameless candles (and a lot of them). No, flameless candles aren't scented, but the Danes actually prefer it that way, because scented candles are considered artificial.