Our busy lifestyle requires the nose to the grindstone from wake up call until bedtime – especially as the new school year has begun – and helping with demands of homework or a class project can threaten to zap the vitality out of an already long day. Sometimes, requirements as a parent or spouse recalls the old phrase: “Calgon Take Me Away!” I am happy that a friend introduced me to a Danish practice called: Hygge – pronounced: Hueguh. It can be thought of as a diet for the mind, and this self soothing love is a restful resort for the stressful, overworked lifestyle.
The idea is to feel comfortably pampered, but without excess – in fact, cluttered surroundings will hinder the process. Practicing Hygge helps to balance stress and relaxation by using favorite comforts of home to make one feel a sense of contentment. It is easy to imagine how self pampering and cozy it is to lounge in favorite pajamas or robe – and it is rejuvenating. A nice glow of a fireplace or of candles add a warm mood to the moment.
Because Hygge is so rewarding, it is no wonder that the Danish people are among the happiest people on the planet. It is true that pampering and comforting oneself often brings contentment in the small things, and It is a great alternative living technique to bring a balance between stress and relaxation. Like meditation, employing Hygge is a great tool to gain long term happiness and a sense of comfort in any circumstance – that can even be evident to others.
The principle of Hygge is to change the view of perfection to an inward view of what is needed – but not in a materialistic way. Just as chicken noodle soup brings comfort while ill, the little things in life are more rewarding. American society places emphasis on outward appearance, such as trying to look picture perfect, or have the right body size. The USA is ranked 6th among countries with the highest amount of plastic surgery. On the other hand, Denmark is among the lowest of countries on this list. That is because the practice of Hygge is not focused on perfection, but on what is inwardly important. Because happiness that is based on materialism does not last.
It can be a restful mind spa to self indulge in cozy comfort, but to experience this, it is best accomplished without relying on fancy technology or new products to create it. The true back to basics pampering self love comes from loving yourself and practicing gratitude for the small things. A good practice to achieve this mindset is to note 5 things that you are thankful for every day.
Volunteering to help people less fortunate than yourself is a great way to appreciate what you have. It is also helpful to avoid negative media as much as possible, because violence, crime and negative news tends to create a pessimistic view.
Focusing on self care can help to be more mindful. Mindfulness as a daily practice can help eliminate habitual activities that are on auto pilot. Hygge calls for simplicity, not clutter. It can be beneficial to create a self care kit, such as a pedicure box, or a handy self love kit, which also helps to eliminate clutter. Looking to see how minimal your space can be by choosing only what will make you feel cozy at that moment is Hygge.
Mood lighting is essential. A dim lamp, a warm glow of a fireplace, or a candle glow creates a warm, comforting mood; this does sets the stage for creativity, and the minds better ability to relax. It is also nice to create a cozy nook or space for yourself. To aid in comfort, a space with a window is relaxing, but it can be created without a window. Add comfort to this space with pillows, a blanket, and a table near by for cocoa, hot tea, or snacks. This space could also be achieved by converting a bed into a lounge. Add pillows that match your style – to create mood. Breakfast in bed is very Hygge.
The main purpose of a Hygge lifestyle is to create a mind spa for balance between the stresses of life and the desire of home comfort. With practice, over a short period of time, you can see just how back to basics minimalist moments will bring strength for the stressors of daily life. Because the practice uses comforts of home, there is little to no cost to achieve the benefits of a spa within your own home.