By Jeanne Reynolds
Heard of hygge? This online buzzword (pronounced hue-guh or hoo-ga, depending on the source) is Danish and means a feeling of comfort and coziness. It’s all about enjoying the simple things in life and taking time to notice and appreciate them.
It was big over the winter: Think fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa by the fire. A walk in the park wearing warm mittens. Baking cookies from scratch. Or my go-to: comfy sweatpants, a good book and a glass of wine with some cheese and crackers.
But now that we’ve had a week of 80-degree days (in February!) I’m thinking about ways to get all hygge-ied up for spring. Here are some ideas:
- Flowers: What says “spring” more than new blooms? Cut a couple forsythia branches from the yard and put them in a pretty vase on the table. Or buy a pot of tulips or one of those cute miniature azalea or rose bushes and put it in a woven basket for a centerpiece.
- Food: Oven-roast some fresh asparagus in a drizzle of olive oil until barely done and sprinkle lightly with shaved asiago while it’s still warm. Or bake heart-shaped cookies for your loved ones (my hubby got oatmeal raisin for Valentine’s Day – yum). Sharing simple homemade treats with family and friends is very hygge.
- Dress: Put on something lightweight and flowy, maybe even sleeveless, and rejoice in the feeling of freedom. If a quick trip to your favorite retailer is required, go for it – no one is judging (so not hygge).
- Read: Put down that dry business book you feel like you’re supposed to wade through to keep up with the other over-achievers and read something you’d normally take to the beach this summer. If you need suggestions, talk to your local librarian (bonus: library books are free!).
- Move: Most hygge advice seems to involve cuddling up indoors, but I find peace and contentment while appreciating nature. Believe me, you can’t be much more “in the moment” than when you’re about to hit a golf ball. Walk, run or ride a bike. Or if the pollen is keeping you inside for now, take a yoga class or literally shake things up by trying Zumba instead.
- Clean: I’m guessing scrubbing mildew off my shower isn’t high on the hygge list, but the wonderful feeling I get looking at how sparkling clean it is now should be.
- Garden: Well, here I go with the chores again, but hang with me: If you don’t have a lightweight battery-powered leaf blower, get one and see how much fun it is cleaning off the drive and walkway. The hygge part comes when I peek out the window – or even walk outside – so I can admire how orderly and tidy it looks. Or plant some new annuals in those tired pots by the door to greet you every day.
- Unplug: As in put down that phone. This is a big one, and possibly a deal-breaker for some people. But is constantly checking texts and emails and Facebook posts really relaxing and comforting? Most studies show constant use of electronic devices increases stress and interferes with sleep. C’mon, try it for a day … or at least an hour. You might be surprised how little you miss it. Hygge is about connecting with your faves in person.
Most of all, have fun with hygge. It isn’t supposed to be a time-consuming project or another item on your to-do list. There’s no need to redecorate your whole house or spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Give yourself guilt-free permission to take time for the things you really enjoy and you’ll feel hygge. Maybe you already do and just didn’t know it.