Not Just Coziness

"311.365" by Kate Renkes is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’m thrilled to have found that there’s a word for snuggling under a soft blanket with a cup of hot tea in candlelight—Hygge. It doesn’t just mean coziness. It’s a charming contentment that fills me when I’m hunkered down in gentle consciousness. I always thought myself boring for enjoying this. Sharing relaxing conversation or playing a tabletop game with a group of friends on a chilly night, is something I thought outdated. So, when I learned of hygge, I was so happy to know that others, a whole country of people, also have this desire for creating intimacy.

Hygge is Danish. The closest my DNA results show anyone in my family being from Denmark, is an 8% Norwegian descent. Was I culturally appropriating and not knowing it? As an American, I feared being seen as lazy for enjoying this special feeling.

When I’m hyggeligt, if I’m alone, I don’t do anything but read or think. No electronics. Pure quiet. Earth tones feed my craving to absorb nature’s calm. Fortunately, my old home has original wood floors and woodwork. Surrounded by the spirit of the forest in my living room, I’ve purposefully placed a sparseness of things that allows energy flow. Plants are a must. This is my personalize space (hyggekrog) to experience hygge. All I’m missing is a fireplace.

Finally, hygge has come to the states. People may be hyggeligt mostly during winter months to ease depression when days have less sunlight. I think of hygge as sophisticated hibernating. I eat comfort food and enjoy the cold months that limit outdoor activity.

Hygge balances a hectic day. It helps control anxiety. It reminds me I’m human and should experience special moments of peace, even if I set myself up for it. When hygge happens on its own, that’s when it’s the most special.

Educating myself about hygge has been reassuring and fun. It’s also inspired me to learn more about Danish people and their lifestyle. I’m grateful to the Danes for naming this amazing experience, and for it being a part of their culture.  



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