The nights are growing longer, the days shorter, the wind whips around our necks as we stroll along the almost deserted beach or through the quiet woodland, and we inhale the cool autumn air. Yet, there’s a comfort in knowing the indoors is calling soon. This is the season of slowing down and finding comfort as the leaves change colour and the weather turns. It’s a time for intention and navigating purpose as we recognise how far we have come in yet another long and trying year. That is why this month's Mama Moments box is the Hygge Box - A purposeful and intentional set of products to help you find the comfort, the pleasure, and the meaning in our days as we make our way towards winter.
The word Hygge, pronounced “hue-guh”, comes from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, “hugga”, which means to comfort or to console. As you can imagine, this is closely related to the English word “hug”, which has very much been on our minds the last couple of years. Whether or not you can pronounce it, Hygge is a feeling and a mood that you can’t buy but instead create. Deeply embedded in Danish tradition, Hygge is like a personal hug. We take comfort in the elements that stimulate our senses and act as a form of self-care as we carefully pursue comfort.
But what exactly is Hygge, and why is it so good for our self-care rituals?
What is Hygge?
Hygge, put quite simply, is the art of getting comfy and cosy. It sounds quite simplistic when it's brought down to its humblest form, but in reality, Hygge is a much-loved way of life that encourages us to create a feeling or mood in our homes that promotes a sense of well-being and togetherness. It is a defining characteristic of the Danish culture, which has spread overseas as its concept is very much something we can all get on board with as we embrace ways to nurture ourselves.
There are elements of Hygge that you may already be familiar with and others you may not know were a form of this relaxing lifestyle. For example, gratitude plays a large part in Hygge as we appreciate what we have and who we have to share it with. It’s about paring down our lives to the elements of relaxation and nourishment so that we can slow down and rejuvenate, which makes this autumn a perfect time to begin a Hygge practice.
In essence, Hygge means creating a comforting environment and enjoying sharing it with loved ones. It is disconnecting from our sterile screens and connecting with face-to-face conversations. It is indulging in good food, wrapping up warm, being snug, and ultimately happy. Remember, the Danes are among the happiest people in the world as they focus on what brings happiness to their quality of life.
Why Is it Good For Self-Care?
Our lives are complicated. We’re busy, and we’re juggling. We’re also probably tired. This is why Hygge is perhaps the best form of self-care at this stage of the year. In some ways, we are winding down from the busyness of our days and staying in more as the weather cuts out specific options for us. So embracing these shorter, wetter days and wrapping ourselves up in Hygge is an excellent way to create a particular autumn and winter ritual of self-care.
Reduces Stress and Improves Emotional Well-being
As we dim our lights or choose specific lighting, even draping fairy lights across our headboards, we embrace Hygge and its multifaceted approach to reducing stress. The comfort we take in creating an atmosphere with lighting, aromatherapy, and gentle music positively reflects our well-being. Relaxing in a room that naturally triggers hormones such as oxytocin (the love hormone), we unsurprisingly relax, grow more positive, and become creative. As a result, our blood pressure and heart rate lower, and we become more positive, reducing stress and improving our emotional well-being.
Hygge is a State of Mindfulness – As we bring our attention to our environment, we are mindfully setting our homes in a manner that creates comfort. Using scented candles, wrapping up in cosy blankets, connecting with colour and nature, we are mindfully using Hygge to appreciate our surroundings, listen to our thoughts, and focus our attention. As we connect with friends, we mindfully listen and partake in stirring and uplifting conversations, giving our attention and thought to others. As we slow down and find comfort, we learn to appreciate the simple things and moments in life.
Hygge Asks You to Take Time for Yourself – Hygge is not solely a solitary concept as it asks us to share our cosy comforts with others. But it also encourages us to wrap ourselves up in thoughtful care as well as blankets. A hot cup of cacao, a book, and a comfortable chair with sweet orange blossom diffusing closeby is a Hygge ritual asking you to take time for yourself. As self-care teaches us to put ourselves first, Hygge makes it very easy to do.
All Year Round Benefits – Hygge is not solely intended for the colder months, although it is perhaps easier to indulge in the cosy comfort when the nights grow cooler. The year-round benefits of Hygge as we adapt to our seasons include less depression or anxiety, lowered stress, heightened self-compassion and optimism, and an instilled practice of gratitude. We may see a greater focus on being together, increased trust and intimacy, and improved relationships with our friendships and connections. Hygge also promotes better sleep, better physical and mental well-being, and a greater sense of intentional self-care.
In all, Hygge is the warm weight of comfort, indulgence, connection, and happiness.
Keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks as we explore Hygge in more depth and learn how to embrace Hygge this winter and how to Hygge as a family.