What is Hygge (How to Practice the Danish Lifestyle)

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By now, you’ve probably heard of the word hygge and maybe even figured out how to pronounce it (Hoo-ga).  This Danish word translates to a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. It is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture. For the Danes, it’s quite simply a way of life.

It’s often associated with winter  – think sitting by a roaring fire with hot cocoa on a cold winter’s night (yes please!).  But it’s really a year-round practice that helped rank the Danes as the happiest people in the world.  So, of course, we should get some hygge in our lives and in our homes.   Especially in these trying times, we could all use a little comfort and contentment in our lives.

11 Ways to Practice Hygge in Your Life


Hygge is about finding enjoyment in life’s simple pleasures.  And practicing mindfulness in whatever you are doing.  Hygge is more than making your home cozy and snuggling under a blanket, although those are both parts of the practice.  It’s a state of mind where we share experiences with others, connect and find contentment.


Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

Nothing brings contentment like spending quality time with loved ones over a meal or a drink.  Being present and having meaningful conversation is the key. Sharing your table with friends and family is the epitome of hygge.

Entertaining in hygge style should be relaxed, comfortable and stress-free.  Encourage group participation with a pot luck where everyone brings a favorite dish.  Or try a fondue dinner for an easy fun evening.  Open the good wine, light the candles and fireplace and put on some soft music.  Hygge entertaining is about the simple pleasures of good conversation and laughs with friends.  Not about fussing over an elaborate meal.

Light Some Candles

Danes are crazy about candles and burn more of them than any country in the world.  Candles are an easy way to add calm and serenity to your home.  While scented candles have grown in popularity worldwide, the Danes often prefer unscented candles.  The most popular are long burning and dripless wax candles.  These candles provide long term enjoyment without a lot of fuss or any overwhelming scents.

Snuggle Under Blankets

Blankets are another essential for practicing hygge.  So pick your favorite blanket to snuggle under.  Wool blankets create serious warmth and weight for winter.  Down blankets are a must for a cozy bed. Chunky knit blankets are really popular right now for good reason – they are super comfy.  Heated electric blankets or fuzzy faux fur are all good hygge choices too.  For the ultimate nap, try a weighted blanket which are touted for their health benefits.

Slow Down

In order to practice Hygge, you’ll want to slow down and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.  That might be immersing yourself in a good book, savoring a cup of brewed tea or cherishing a long chat with a friend.   Take time to appreciate life and practice gratitude in the small things.  Writing in a journal is a great way to start a gratitude practice.


Hygge is the antidote for modern technology. So unplug and connect with someone or something away from screens.  Reading, crafts, puzzles and board games all good ways to unplug.

Connect with Nature

Nature is healing and a great way to relieve the stress of modern life.  Get out for a walk, a bike ride or take a jump in a lake.  In the evening, try turning off the lights for some star gazing. Soak up your surroundings, breathe the fresh air and feel yourself relax.

Immerse Yourself in a New Hobby

Learn something new – like knitting, crocheting or painting.  Try a new recipe for a home cooked meal or baking some treats. Practicing mindfulness and unplugging are easier when your mind is occupied in learning a new task.  And being creative helps you unwind and try out new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Add Some Hygge To Your home

Hygge style can be incorporated into any home or design style.  It’s about creating a safe warm space for you and your loved ones. When decorating, keep things simple and natural to create the feeling of coziness.  Hygge style is about enjoying the simple things. It’s more about quality than quantity.  So adding hygge style does not need to break the bank.

Fireplaces are center of the cozy home – wood burning or gas. If you can’t have a fireplace, create one with an electric style fireplace to add ambiance to any room.  In tight spaces, a personal fireplace fits even on a small tabletop and add coziness.

Add textures to your home – chunky knits, fuzzy pillows, sheepskin throws and natural rugs.  Think of layering textures on top of each other for supreme coziness.

Bring the Outside in

Incorporate natural elements for decor – from nature-inspired artwork to elements like pinecones, rocks, seashells and branches for decor.  Bundle your favorite local branches in a vase for an easy centerpiece.  Incorporate flowers, green plants and trees inside.

Eating well

The Danes practice hygge when it comes to eating too.  It’s about mindful eating and taking pleasure in your food and your environment. Regardless whether it’s a take-out dinner or a home-cooked meal that’s been simmering all day.  Set the stage – candles, flowers, nice dishes and cloth napkins.  Throw some knit or sheepskin covers over your dining chairs for a nordic look (faux fur fine too!).  And take some time to savor your meal and be present.

Hygge recipes are all about comfort foods that nourish the soul and body.  Foods like a steaming bowl of breakfast porridge, hot soup and mulled wine or cider. Use locally sourced ingredients that are in season for a hygge meal.  Break out your crockpot for some slow cooked  comfort food.

And don’t forget dessert – hygge is about enjoying a little something sweet with coffee or tea.  And leave the guilt behind – it has no place here.