One of the most Instagram-able books of last year, which is also in The Times Top Ten Bestsellers, is The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, as well as the the follow-up The Little Book of Lykke. Both written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I have always had an interest and felt inspired by Scandinavian design and fashion and now I am completely immersed in the culture too. The Danes are the happiest people in Europe and their quality of life is supposedly outstanding. I have always found pleasure in many things related to the concept of Hygge, which loosely translates in English as ‘cosiness’, but the word connotes so much more than that.
Experiences and sharing time with loved ones is a key aspect of Hygge, whether it’s coffee dates, meals out or simply going on walks together. Togetherness is so important and I think these concepts and many others are incredibly profound in really improving your lifestyle. That’s why in January, the ‘most miserable time of the year’, these concepts can really help brighten, despite the grey skies and relentless rainfall.
Here is a breakdown of a few Hygge concepts I know I’ll be injecting into January and the indefinite future.
* Bare in mind there are many more ideologies and aspects, these are just a select few that I have adapted. Make sure to read the books or more into Hygge and the work of The Happiness Research Institute for more information – I really recommend these books!
———- Coffee Dates ———-
Never underestimate the beauty of a good cup of coffee (or tea) especially when it is enjoyed in the company of a loved one. Whether that be a parent, a friend or a partner – anyone. I find there is nothing better than catching up with someone over a cup of coffee, even more so when it’s cold and windy outside. Take this time to put your phone away and really take pleasure in good conversation. Try to look for independent coffee shops and cafe’s to support local businesses and get away from the hustle and bustle of a Cafe Nero or Costa.
———- Unwind, Light Candles & Read ———-
One of my goals for this year is to read and properly take some downtime and space away from my phone. I’m lucky in that I have a fair amount of free time (except all the deadlines at the end of term) but I waste it scrolling through social media for too long or watching Netflix . Which is all well and good, but reading is what really inspires me and as an aspired writer, it is essential for me to read everyday.
It is important for everyone to unwind and read – to have time away from a screen and appreciate a good book, magazine or even listen to a Podcast. Lighting candles or lights is a key aspect of Danish culture, as referenced in Hygge. They are great for setting a cosy scene and will help you relax and sink into your book. It is really good to take a step back from work, studies or anything you are focusing on and pause.
———- Get Out and Experience ———-
Juxtaposing the reminder about cherishing those cosy nights in and taking some chill-time, it is also important to get out and experience the world around us. Walking is great, especially if you own a dog – the pleasure works both ways! January can be a dull, grey month but it can also be beautiful and crisp. Wrap up warm and take a walk or a run (if you’re on a January fitness hype) and try get out and appreciate whats around you.
———- Make Time for Friends ———-
Sounds obvious, yet it can be hard to keep up with work, social life, family, fitness and everything in between. Friends are so valuable and for me, when I’m sipping on my favourite cocktail (mojito obvs) and catching up with my friends – I’m living my best life! Put the effort in, whether you’re doing dry January or not – meet up for coffee, go shopping or simply chat away from the comfort of your sofa. Make the time for friends and speak about the good and the bad, the worries or the amazing things you have coming up. If your best friend is anything like mine, you’ll also be grateful for the free life coaching sessions she provides free of charge!
———- Ellie ———-