6 Ways To Use The Danish Philosophy Of 'Hygge' To Enjoy Life That Much More

Do as the Danish people do.

Cozy woman living a hygge lifestyle Valeria Ushakova / The Valeria Ushakova Collection

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the wintertime. I blamed the heat for all of my problems and vowed to never, ever live in a hot climate again. So, I moved.

One day I stood by my window with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands watching the snow falling outside. It was so beautiful. I looked down at my fuzzy, warm socks, and at that moment I felt happy.

I realized that happiness wasn't just about living in a varied climate. It was about embracing it and, more importantly, embracing who I was and what made me happy rather than trying to fit into a magical perception of happiness.


In other words, I wasn't accepting my longing for living the "hygge" life.

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What is hygge?

In case you aren't familiar with the term, "hygge" is a Danish philosophy loosely meaning "coziness." Denmark takes their hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh) seriously — so seriously that it's basically a lifestyle and helps them embrace and even cherish the winter. (Denmark isn't known as the happiest country in the world for nothing, you know.)


Funnily enough, the word originated in the old Norwegian language, where it meant "well-being." It only first appeared in Danish writing around the end of the 18th century.

Hygge is basically a lifestyle that makes one slow down to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.

A few examples of the hygge lifestyle include:

  • Socializing with loved ones at home
  • Snuggling in warm clothes
  • Drinking mulled wine
  • Enjoying indulgent foods
  • Living with soft lighting

Welcoming hygge into your life can really change a lot of things for the better!

5 Benefits of Hygge

1. Hygge makes you appreciate the smaller things in life.

This may seem cheesy, but it really is important not to take the little things in life for granted. Something simple, like the smell of your morning cup of coffee or a warm pair of socks on your feet, gives me a feeling of enjoyment and serenity, which is a key part of hygge.


This goes for your accomplishments, too. You may often make the mistake of only celebrating the big achievements, but what about that feeling of pride you get when you've fixed a problem by yourself or trying out a new recipe?

Everyone deserves to be proud of themselves more often, and you should appreciate all of your efforts, no matter how small.

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2. Hygge gives you a chance to relax and recuperate.

Picture this: you're sitting by a warm fire with a hot drink in your hand, a cozy blanket draped over you, and a good book in your hands. Even the most energetic people can't say that doesn't sound like an absolute dream.


You might put too much pressure on yourself to constantly be active, but there's something wonderful about not really doing anything. There's nothing wrong with slowing down and having a moment to yourself every once in a while. It clears your minds, and who wouldn't want a chance for relaxation amid all of the chaos of your daily life?

There's also a little thing called getting burned out. And it's a very real thing. So, taking some quiet time for yourself is extremely beneficial to both your health and happiness.

3. Hygge teaches you how to prepare for and endure cold weather.

With winter comes brutal weather and the various complaints that follow: How long will my commute take? Will I even be able to get to work at all? I have to get up an hour early just to shovel the foot of snow off of my car?

The biggest problem when it comes to winter is how much time we spend complaining about the weather rather than actually preparing for it. But if you prepare yourself for the season, you'll be much happier and warmer.


By taking on a hygge lifestyle, you'll also be able to be outside for longer and enjoy the fun things you can only do in the winter. You don't want to be the one sitting freezing on the sidelines while your friends are having a blast ice skating. Being prepared equals contentment. And that's totally hygge.

4. Hygge changes the way you look at winter.

One of the best things about hygge is that it treats winter like one long holiday season. Many holiday traditions and activities are also the main elements of hygge. Candles, cozy sweaters and socks, hot drinks, blankets, and fireplaces — these are most commonly associated with creating a hygge atmosphere.

Another connection between hygge and the holidays? Decorating. Organizing and decorating your home is crucial to achieving that hygge vibe. In fact, there's actually a specific type of decor that targets bringing hygge into your living space.

You don't have to always hygge alone either. In fact, a big part of hygge is being able to spend quality time with family and friends by just enjoying each other's company and relaxing together. Inviting the people you love over for a cozy night at home with great food and hot drinks is a perfect way to spend a cold winter night.


5. Hygge promotes self-care.

Hygge is about achieving a calm state of mind and body by helping you forget about the stresses in your life and anything that is emotionally overwhelming. Hygge makes you feel comfortable and secure.

In a life of unpredictability, this is a rare thing to feel and is so important to your well-being. As humans, it's natural to want to feel safe and comfortable, and hygge aims to make you feel this way, if only for an hour out of your busy day.

It's high time to start looking at winter in a different light. Because even if you're not willing to go full hygge, you can still incorporate some aspects of it into your life.

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How To Live A Hygge Life

1. Burn candles.

One of the main characteristics about hygge is setting your atmosphere to be warm and calming. Candles are great for creating a warm lighting in your home.

Not only do candles make for wonderful lighting for hygge, but they will also fill your home with lovely scents. Of course, be careful and mindful about where you put these candles to not catch anything on fire.

2. Fully utilize throw blankets.

If you ask any Dane about how to incorporate hygge into your life, they will enthusiastically suggest integrating cozy blankets into your home decor. These blankets aren't just to make your home feel more comforting.

Cuddle under a soft throw blanket and your problems simply fade away. Blankets make you feel safe and secure, even if your life is falling apart.


3. Use your fireplace.

Just like candles, your fireplace helps your atmosphere feel more hygge. The sound of crackling wood in the fire is soothing to your ears and will fill your home with heat and warmth.

It's also very calming to watch fire brewing away while in a safe place. Yes, having a fireplace can be difficult and requires a lot of maintenance, but for a hygge lifestyle, it's well worth it.

4. Eat comfort food and hot drinks.

Grab those homemade chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa, because comfort foods and hot drinks are an easy way to incorporate hygge into your life.


The lifestyle is all about doing what makes you feel safe, comfy, and cozy. So, eat those indulgent desserts and drink the hot teas you love.

5. Avoid staring at your phone.

Technology is a big no-no in the hygge lifestyle. Screens can stress your eyes and mind out, and hygge is all about being relaxed.

Don't spend hours on your phone scrolling through social media and comparing yourself to everything. Instead, read a book, cook a meal, play a board game, or take a nap (under a cozy throw blanket).

6. Stay present.

There is one thing higher in priorities in the hygge lifestyle: staying present. Being in the moment is one of the top "rules" to the hygge lifestyle because it keeps you relaxed.


The only way you can truly enjoy life and all the little moments is to stay in the moment and appreciate them as they come. Don't worry about the future or overthink your past.

If we're going to follow anyone's advice about life, it may as well be from the happiest country in the world. Obviously, they're doing something right! Hygge on, everyone.

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Sloane Solomon is a professional writer and editor who graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelors in English Writing.