Understanding Hygge: the Danish Practice of Being Cozy

Approximately two weeks ago, my best friend (and oftentimes roommate, even though we don’t live together) petitioned me that we spend the upcoming weekend doing nothing. Sure, I thought, don’t we always? The weekend is always about relaxing. But she was serious – no going out for dinner or drinks, seeing other friends, or running any errands. She suggested that we spend an entire weekend practicing hygge. 

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Pronounced ‘hoo-guh’, the hygge is the Danish practice of essentially getting cozy, being comfortable, and relaxing. There isn’t a direct translation in English, but it is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Hygge can be a verb, a noun, or an adjective – you can use it in almost any tense. It personifies our obsession with fall. Warm mittens, hot lattes, big knit blankets. It’s an essence of being truly comfortable and taking away some of the biggest stresses in life.

So how did we go about emerging ourselves in hygge for an entire weekend?

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I already have a lot of hygge elements in my apartment. I love big, fur blankets and having a lot of white candles around my space. We went to Target immediately after work on Friday and picked up food for the whole weekend. Frozen pizzas, warm soups, some ice cream. We did try to stick to some cozier foods – like the soup – but we also went for ones that would, quite honestly, make us giggle. Dinosaur chicken nuggets at our age? Absolutely.

We spent the entire weekend inside my apartment, in our most comfortable sweats. Not yoga pants or tight teeshirts – we specifically put on big, cozy, baggy clothes that would feel like second blankets. We had slippers one. We made boozy, Bailey’s caramel lattes in my kitchen on Saturday morning. We binge watched movies – everything from horror, to comedy, to Bollywood (my personal guilty pleasure).

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So… did I learn anything?

The most notable thing missing from our hygge weekend was our iPhones. I didn’t feel the need to Instagram my cocktail on Friday or Snapchat the club on Saturday. I was cozy and relaxed all weekend; there was no pressure to go meet people or a guilt trip for not going out. My biggest recommendation? Spend a weekend investing in your own hygge. Get cozy blankets. Watch your favorite movie. Put down your phone.

Whatever it is, we all could benefit from spending a weekend acting a little more Danish.

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