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Hygge for Self-Care and a Healthier Lifestyle

The Little Book of Hygge
Photo by Stella Rose on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of hygge?

It’s a Danish word that’s pronounced “hoo-ga,” and a cherished concept that’s been in practice for centuries in Denmark—though it’s difficult to translate into English because there’s no true equivalent. The closest word we have in English is: “coziness.”

Hygge is what happens when you gather with loved ones, with a fire in the fireplace, sharing stories, and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. 

History of hygge and its recent surge in popularity

Dating back to the 18th century, hygge in Danish literally means “wellbeing” or “comfort,” and emerged as a cultural practice originally associated with the need for warmth in the harsh Scandinavian winters. It’s become a fixture in Danish culture and has become an inspiration to people around the world.

In the early to mid-2010s, hygge became an internationally popular concept, thanks to the publication of books like The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking in 2016. With tons of related content on Instagram and Pinterest, #hygge became a recognized way to promote a healthy lifestyle for people around the world seeking more comfort, coziness, and well-being in their lives.

In the US, hygge was welcomed as a much-needed antidote to stress and burnout—and the implications for wellness are so wonderful that we wanted to share them here.

A holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle

The concept of hygge evokes images of a raging fire, hot beverages in big mugs, cozy sweaters, dim lighting, and spending time with loved ones (not to mention turning off screens!). But whereas the Instagram depictions of hygge sometimes lean into the importance of buying just the right candles and slippers, it’s really all about cultivating a mindset that prioritizes self-care and mindful living.

And that’s exactly what leads to a healthy lifestyle (not to mention happiness)!

The best part is that hygge is that you can practice it year-round and its healthy focus is phenomenal for your mental and physical health.

Hygge for Self-Care
Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

Principles of hygge that tie into our ideas of “self-care”

It’s easy to neglect your well-being as you juggle work, family, and seemingly endless adulting responsibilities. Could hygge be the missing ingredient?

By integrating some hygge into your life, you take care of yourself in a new and meaningful way that nourishes the mind, body, and soul—and brings more balance, joy, and contentment.

Here are the ten self-care suggestions inspired by The Little Book of Hygge as “The Hygge Manifesto” and how to tie them into your own life.

1. Create a cozy and inviting environment.

Give yourself the gift of coming home to a cozy landing pad to rest, unwind, reconnect, and recharge.

Infusing more hygge to create a cozy atmosphere means adding soft lighting with lamps, candles, or firelight (or even a roaring fireplace video on YouTube). You can create even more comfort through plush blankets and soft cushions.

2. Practice mindfulness.

Slowing down to appreciate the present moment is a component of hygge, and a critical component of stress relief, self-care, and a healthy lifestyle.

Begin your day with a few moments of mindfulness, whether through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or savoring your morning coffee in silence. You’ll set the tone for a positive day ahead and a groundedness that will fortify you.

3. Seek out simple pleasures.

Sometimes we’re so busy, we forget to incorporate the things we love the most. Whether it’s a delicious and meaningful meal prepared with love or a walk in a beautiful place, get intentional about creating moments to do and appreciate these things.

Pleasure can seem like a “nice to have” but is an absolutely essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Book some time in your calendar to seek out activities that refuel you or allow you to simply explore without an agenda.

4. Foster a sense of equality. 

Create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Gathering and connecting is an essential part of our mental health and what makes us human!

Whether you’re gathering with your partner, kids, friends, or extended family, everyone needs to feel like they belong and that they matter. 

The simple act of inviting people to gather with you can boost everyone’s happiness level.

5. Cultivate gratitude.

Keep a gratitude journal, write thank-you notes, and use your morning coffee moment to consider what you’re grateful for. Regularly check in with yourself to feel a deep level of appreciation for the blessings in your life, big and small. 

An attitude of gratitude sets you up with a mindset to call in more of what you’re already appreciating and promotes a “ glass half-full” perspective on life.

6. Strive to create more harmony in your life.

As you invest more time in the activities you love that bring great fulfillment, you also need to mindfully let go of those that cause stress or negativity.

Aim for that hygge-style “coziness” when you consider how to spend your downtime and with whom.

7. Embrace comfort in your daily routines.

Yes, your yoga pants are a form of self-care!

Comfortable clothing and comforting rituals will make your days feel easy and luxurious and like you’re on the receiving end of nurturing care.

8. Create a sense of peace and tranquility in your home and relationships.

The word used for this tip is “truce”–stop fighting.

Set aside time for rest and relaxation. Surrender. Prioritize open communication and forgiveness in your interactions with others.

You may be burning through a lot of energy putting up resistance. Creating a safe space to let your guard down is a wonderful way to weave self-care into your life.

9. Foster connections and meaningful relationships. 

Build quality time into your schedule so that you’re having meaningful experiences with those you love.

Turn off the TV, stop scrolling, and shut down the video games. Find activities that you can share in the enjoyment and getting outside is always an added bonus. 

10. Surround yourself with comforting reminders.

Putting reminders around your home of what matters most to you—family photos, mementos, and artwork that reflect your values, happy memories, and enduring love.

Bringing joy to your moments at home will do a lot to counteract the stress of daily life.

Embracing hygge for a healthier, happier life

Hygge’s journey to America reflects its universal appeal and relevance in our fast-paced, interconnected world. As people seek refuge from the pressures of modern life, they’re drawn to practices that promote comfort, connection, and well-being.

At Synergy, we subscribe to all of the principles above as we strive to support our clients with weight management, nutritional counseling, holistic health coaching, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and mental health medication management.

Self-care isn’t selfish—it’s essential. Incorporating the principles of hygge can have a transformative effect on our well-being.

So, light a candle, make a cup of tea, and savor a moment of gratitude—and start living your best life.

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