If you’re intrigued by the Danish concept of “hygge” and wondering how to add hygge home, life, and your journal, you’re in for a treat today! The PageFlutter team is here with tons of hygge ideas to get through the winter season – the cold months have never looked so good!
(This post was originally written in October 2017. The PageFlutter team updated it in 2022 to add even more hygge ideas for a cozy journal and a cozy lifestyle).
Simple Hygge Ideas to Add a Bit of Coziness to Your Daily Life
Last year, I was introduced to the Danish word Hygge, and I can’t get enough of it.
Say it with me: HYOO-GUH.
If you aren’t familiar with hygge, it’s a Danish lifestyle concept about creating comfort and joy, making space to spend quality time with loved ones, and generally having a warm and cozy lifestyle, both in the physical sense (warm drinks and a roaring open fire are definitely very hygge) and the emotional sense (warm and cozy feelings!).
Denmark has harsh winters, but Danish people still manage to be some of the happiest on the planet.
And I have to imagine some of that comes down to their Danish culture and its emphasis on hyggeligt experiences.
What is Hygge?
I’ve gone back and forth between these two books, and I recommend both of them.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the Danish word, hygge, what it means, and – most importantly – how to hygge.
Hygge is a feeling and an experience.
You can evoke hygge simply by enjoying life’s great simple pleasures, but you can also infuse your life and routine with hyggeligt things (hyggeligt is the adjective, and it’s pronounced hyoo-guh-lee).
I moved around a lot as a kid, but spent the better part of my childhood in Colorado. The joys of a warm, rustic home and a cozy fire are right up my alley. I find myself longing for snowy winter nights.
Last year, I posted my hygge page on Instagram, and you all went nuts for it!
From your comments, I learned that other Northern European countries share the concept (though each nation has its own word for it).
How to Add Hygge to Your Daily Life
It’s hard for Scandanavians to understand the U.S. fascination with hygge. Since Americans don’t have a word for this type of living, we can’t help glomming on to it with our typical obsessive American fervor (which is pretty un-hygge, ironically).
Regardless, I’ve found great value in it, and I’m going forward with my hygge plans (whether or not winter happened this year)!
I started by making a quick page in my journal to brainstorm different areas of my life I can infuse with hygge.
Not big life changes, just little tweaks that make every day warmer and more comforting.
1. Make a Hygge Home
I keep a casual home. I like plush couches, throw blankets, and coffee tables where a person can put their feet up.
Turns out, that’s pretty hygge!
If you want to embrace the hygge lifestyle, starting with your home makes a lot of sense.
And luckily, it’s pretty simple when it comes to home decor.
Adding hygge to the home is really just a matter of making it feel warm and comfortable. When it’s cold outside, nothing feels better than the warm glow of a roaring fire, a cozy nook, wool socks, and a hot drink.
If you don’t have a fireplace, you can get the same effect with candles (Scandanavians love their candles – Danes even light live candles on their Christmas trees on Christmas Eve). Plain ol’ red or white pillar candles will do the trick, or you can buy Hygge candles on Amazon.
If you have small children or live in a building that doesn’t allow candles, fairy lights or battery-operated flameless candles are a good choice.
When it comes to furniture, you can incorporate hygge with pieces that use natural materials in calming colors to create a cozy and serene space.
Since it’s casual and comfortable, you don’t need to spend lots of money to embrace hygge in your home decor.
A few simple changes include swapping your light bulbs for a warmer color, tossing a fuzzy throw blanket on the couch, and hanging some inexpensive light strings. If you think an item will add coziness, you can count on it also adding hygge!
2. Experience a Hygge Lifestyle Through Flavors
Most of the year, I eat clean, uncomplicated foods, with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
As winter and darker evenings draw near, I try to make more room for good old fashioned fun in my life. Especially during the holidays!
On a cold Saturday night, there’s nothing better than spirits and a hot meal with friends.
When I think about what hygge food be would be like, I think of comfort food.
Hot cocoa and roast marshmallows, shared with close friends? May not warrant a checkmark on your healthy eating habit tracking, but it’s very hygge!
But so are bowls of stew with crusty breads and spiced meats.
Or hot drinks with fresh pastries.
Lately, I’ve been drinking Oregon Chai’s sugar free chai tea mix.
I’m also a fan of this incredibly rich cinnamon hot cocoa, but be warned, it’s super indulgent!
Hot mulled wine and beer can be especially hyggeligt.
Okay…writing this post is making me hungry!
3. Quality Time with a Few Friends and Family
Having great food and an inviting home doesn’t do much good if you keep it all to yourself.
Hygge is all about sharing your hygge life!
Spending your time with close friends and family = hyggelit!
Have family and friends over for a casual pot-luck, and play cards by the fire. Share good food and a friendly game to warm up those cold nights.
Hygge is all about enjoying simple pleasures. It’s not time for serious discussions about work, religion, politics, or anything else that might cause stress or a schism among friends.
These cozy moments are ideal times to express how much we value the people in our lives. If you thought practicing gratitude on your own was powerful, wait until you’re in a room full of your favorite people, all expressing how grateful they are to be together.
4. Hygge Hobbies are all About ….
I always have a few hobbies going, but they somehow feel more important to my happiness in the fall and winter.
First of all, I like to embrace the outdoors. It’s easy to neglect outdoor hobbies when the weather cools off, but connecting with the outdoors can have benefits all year. If nothing else, a cold hike or ice skating with friends makes it that much more enjoyable to come home to a cozy living space.
But once I’m done with the great outdoors, spending time indoors gives me more time for my favorite lazy hobbies.
In the evenings, I love cocooning up with a good book. I probably read three times as much in winter as I do any other time of year, which makes my Kindle particularly useful.
Of course, I still journal and doodle in the winter, and I do more of my creative writing by hand. Sitting at the computer in the winter just isn’t the same as scrawling notes with a fountain pen at a desk near a window.
Last week, I got out my knitting, too! I recently got a new set of Knit Picks interchangeable needles in color Magestic (scroll up two photos for a closeup of these beauties)! I adore Knit Picks needles. Not only are they gorgeous, but the wood is buttery smooth and warm in my hands. They make the whole knitting experience tactile and comforting. I love to knit and crochet anything warm: scarves, chunky blankets, hats, and this year I’m taking on socks.
5. Mindfulness and Hygge Go Hand in Hand
Hygge also lines up nicely with mindfulness and gratitude.
During the long, cold weather months, it can be especially important to practice gratitude.
Taking the time to appreciate ordinary experiences, such as a perfect cup of coffee, a warm sweater, and reliable friends and family, helps you maintain a positive outlook.
The more you practice gratitude through everyday experience, the more likely it is you’ll even start feeling grateful for the challenges in your life.
The silence of winter leaves more room for meditation or prayer (whichever you’re more comfortable with).
I take the quiet as an opportunity to observe and appreciate the world around me.
Try turning your attention outward. Practice sitting quietly and contentedly with the people you love. Slow down your daily rituals and try to connect with them more deeply.
Making a conscious effort to shift your mindset toward positivity and gratitude can enrich your life well beyond the winter months.
The Totally Unnecessary, But Fun Anyway, Hygge Checklist
I had loads of fun making my little hygge checklist, but let’s be perfectly honest: You don’t need a checklist for this type of living!
That said, if you’re looking for something to add to your journal around how to hygge, I hope you like this printable.
Embracing hygge is casual, joyful, and often spontaneous…it’s the Danish way!
It’s about savoring people and moments more than anything else.
For me, this page is an idea board, rather than a true checklist. It’s a good jumping off point when those winter blues hit (and yes, they even affect people who love winter).
And since journaling is already one of my hygge habits, the mere act of making these pages made me feel comforted and sheltered.
If you’re ready to embrace the Danish way of hygge, try cozying up with your journal, or create your own hygge ideas page.
And if you need help getting started with hygge, grab the printable version of my journal pages in the Vault.
You can subscribe here if you’re not already a member, and I’ll send you a password.
So, what do you think? Have you already hopped onto the hygge train? Comment below and share your favorite winter rituals for staying positive and connected.
Brainstorm with me!