24 January, 2020

Living the Hygge Life

The coldest months of the year are around the corner for most Canadians, and one of the trending terms you might see these days is “hygge” (pronounced “HUE-guh”). This is a Danish term used in contemporary times for referring to a lifestyle that emphasizes simplistic coziness and, ultimately, enhanced togetherness, happiness and wellness. Many hygge principles have useful applications during Canadian winters, when days are often shorter, and people spend more time indoors.


You may have noticed many consumer lifestyle products cropping up labelled as hygge products. In truth, you don’t necessarily have to go shopping just to practice hygge around the home. Here are some possible changes you can make to your surroundings and routine that embody the spirit of hygge with everyday items you might already have on hand.


Create cozy, intimate spaces

One of the central principles of hygge is fostering togetherness. This can take the form of a small gathering with your immediate family, extended family and close friends, or a larger holiday party. In these circumstances, you can simply rearrange your existing furnishings to create warmer and closer arrangements designed to encourage conversation.


Rearranging furniture to allow for more clustered seating and better flow can help create these intimate arrangements with what you have. Also, with winter upon us, shifting seating areas away from windows and strategically nearer to heat sources (e.g., such as a fireplace) can create warmer and cozier gathering areas.


Remember, when it comes to bringing people into your cozy spaces, it doesn’t have to be a formal holiday party. Every day can be an excuse to host visitors, such as a screening of your favourite films, a hockey game between two rivals, or even just an evening of parlour or board games.


Utilize practical accents

Winter can be a drab season, but employing hygge principles can enhance the look and general warmth of your home. Many of these changes can be done inexpensively, and with items that have practical benefits as well.


For example, candles have many practical uses, and should be a staple in most households during cold weather conditions. For many people, candlelight creates a peaceful and meditative feel around the home. Stocking up on candles, storing them in an easily accessible place and putting some on display for decorative and ease-of-use purposes is a popular way of practicing hygge. One tip is to have candles in clusters, in safe places where they can be lit and used on a regular basis to take a needed and atmospheric break from electric lighting.


When it comes to your furniture, rearranging or adding throw cushions or blankets can be a good way of giving your existing sitting areas a seasonal look while adding some warmth to the surroundings. Throw blankets can be put over bannisters as well, and if you have pictures or other decorative objects you have been meaning to hang, now is a great time to get it done.


Take time just to enjoy your surroundings

At the end of the day, remember that hygge isn’t about having a long list of tasks and knocking them off in succession. During the winter season, many of us can be bogged down with chores, seasonal projects, and preparing for holiday celebrations. It is important to be mindful of these potential stress factors, and to remember to take breaks. Hygge can be practiced outdoors, by dressing in your Canadian winter’s finest and taking a walk around to enjoy the scenery, heading out for some cross-country skiing, or even taking a stroll in your own neighbourhood to take in the holiday decorations. Or you can relax indoors, sit down with a book and hot beverage, and enjoy your newly hygge-enhanced home.