Get Your Hygge On from Counselling and Wellbeing

a student relaxing on their bed with coffee, a book and fluffy socks

It’s December, it’s cold outside, it’s getting darker earlier and it is the time of year to get all cosy. This month’s wellbeing blog is written by Odelia Aslan, Counsellor in the Counselling and Wellbeing team.

We hope you enjoy – let us know how you are getting your hygge on this December!

Hygge, pronounced ‘hue-guh’, is a Danish word that refers to the concept of ‘cosiness of the soul’, and as Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world (World Happiness Report 2015), perhaps we should be taking a leaf out of their book. In essence Hygge is about warming up, chilling out and unwinding in an atmosphere of utter cosiness.

So, how do you cultivate a ‘hyggelig’ (hygge-like) atmosphere? Well apparently, one of the essentials are candles, their soft, glowing lights will gently flicker around the room, no harsh overhead lighting! (remember to be careful with candles in the home, alternatively, you can buy ‘faux candles’). Next, we need to create a cosy area or nook (a hyggekrog – yes, there’s a whole hygge language, the Danes take this comfy stuff seriously), use cushions, blankets, scarves for comfort and warmth, maybe some fairy lights and a pile of books you’ve been meaning to get around to all year.

Pop on your old, worn-out joggers or pyjama bottoms, Danish people call trousers you’d never wear in public – ‘hyggebukser’ (you were right not to hand them over to the charity shop yet), and pair with an oversized jumper.

Make the most of the simple things we do, like brewing a cup of tea or coffee and calling a friend for a much-needed catch-up. Pop marshmallows into your hot chocolate and cradle the warm mug in your hands as you watch an old film. Or how about trying something creative? Some mindfulness colouring, hand-make cards to send to friends, drawing, writing a journal or tell a story?

Going outside can be Hygge too. Wrap up warm in a coat, scarf and gloves and go for a good old stomp around the local countryside or park in the crisp, chilly air with the sun twinkling low through the bare branches of the trees, knowing you’ll be coming back into the warm comfort of the indoors soon, with a steaming brew and a gooey cake waiting for you.

Getting together with family, friends or a partner can be made even more convivial with a few hygge touches. A slow-cooked stew or warming homemade soup, playing board games or putting together a jigsaw puzzle bring back a hearty, old vintage feel.

Hygge relaxation can be mindful, the care we take over creating the snuggly comfort helps to keep us in the present moment. There’s no rushing or worrying about what we need to do next, for with Hygge all we need to do is unwind and enjoy.

It’s a shame-free, fluffy socked, cosy up, movie watching, candle glowing, hot chocolate and biscuit dunking extravaganza of ahhhhhhhh. So no matter the weather, hygge-up and feel the stress melt away.

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