Happiness with hygge

Category: Wellbeing

It’s been a rough few months, hasn’t it? Sometimes it’s tough to keep our spirits up, so how about investing in some hygge?

Some hygge? What’s that? It’s a Danish word for a feeling or moment that’s cosy, charming or special, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary.

Apparently, it’s pronounced hue-guh and not hoo-gah, but The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well says ‘you don’t spell it, you feel it’. Think of the activities, people and places that make you feel happy, cosy and content – that’s hygge.

Hygge comes in the form of both a verb and an adjective – something can be hyggelig(t) hygge-like).

Summer hygge involves enjoying the warmth of the sun and the delights of nature, particularly with the key elements of togetherness and tasty food.

Here are a few activities to help you get your hygge on.

Think cider house rules
There are few things more hyggelig than spending a day in an orchard picking fruit. And spending one day at the orchard will allow you to hygge another day too, by making jams or preserving the fruit you pick in other ways. You might even fancy having a go at making cider?

There are many ‘pick your own’ farms scattered throughout the countryside in the UK.

Throw a barbecue for family and friends
Nothing gets the hygge going faster than lighting the barbecue – it’s no coincidence that cooking sociably over a real fire is practised in most parts of the world. Invite your friends and family (in line with social distance rules) over and get cooking together.

While you wait for the embers to be just the right temperature, have a game of croquet or the Viking game Kubb, which, essentially, involves hitting sticks with other sticks.

Join or build a community garden
Community gardens are a wonderful way of bringing the hyggelig atmosphere of a village into a bigger city. Tending to your tomatoes while having a chat over a coffee with the other gardeners is meditative too. In addition, it brings people in the local neighbourhood together and fosters the development of community spirit. What’s not to like?

Picnics by the beach
Summer is a wonderful time of the year to go to your local famers’ market and fill your basket with strawberries, cherries and peaches. Add some bread and cheese to the basket, and you’re good to go.

Meet your friends (social distance rules apply) or just that one special person, at a quiet spot near the sea (perhaps give Bournemouth a miss). Spend the day chatting, reading and enjoying the freedom of not having to do anything.

Cargo bike around
What better way to experience your city or neighbourhood than by cycling around it? If you’re lucky enough to know someone with a cargo bike, you might be able to borrow it for a day and feel very European.

Put your kids, spouse, parents, best friend or your dog in the box of the cargo bike (a maximum of two people is advised) and get biking.

Of course, you could walk or drive, but the cargo bike can be turned into a movable fortress of hygge.
Bring pillows, a blanket, treats, music, a picnic basket – whatever tickles your fancy. This is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon, but with an extra warm blanket and a good sweater it can also work as a year-round activity.

What does hygge look like to you? What makes you feel happy, cosy and content? Let us know.

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Photo by Max Adulyanukosol on Unsplash