Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: spirituality, mental state, self care.
Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Nothing is more hygge than spending a cozy day with family, showering each other with love and gifts, and eating the best comfort foods, while you’re nice and snug in your warm home. So I found it only fitting to review The Little Book of Hygge today, of all days.
The Little Book of Hygge discusses the state of hygge (a Danish word, pronounced hoo-gah) which is essentially the art and mental state of comfort and coziness. It’s not an exact translation, but the generalization of the word is something that many cultures understand. This book started a huge trend in it’s publication year (2016), as it helped kick off the fall and winter season- a time of the year when those of us in the USA tend to start gearing up for the colder temperatures and festive holidays. Since then, it’s had many people discussing the term, and how to bring hygge into their homes- and not just seasonally, but every day.
This reference guide and what many term “coffee table book” is small, but thick at 356 pages. It discussed the history of hygge, and the many ways in which one can bring hygge into their life. The following are my top 10 hygge takeaways from this little book:
1. Candles and soft lighting are essential to hygge atmosphere- the softer the lighting, the better! However, make sure to air out the room you burn candles (or wax) in. The wax causes a pollutant that can do actual smoke damage to your home.
2. Comfort is a priority. Wearing comfortable, cozy clothing- not necessarily warm but soft, plush, and non-constricting – creates an overall feeling of relaxation, which is very hygge.
3. Being present, with no or minimal distractions, is a big part of a hygge setting. The idea is to simply enjoy the atmosphere and be in the moment, which is often difficult to do in this busy day and age.
4. Eating simplistic and pleasurable food is hygge. A home cooked meal, or fresh baked bread, or a sweet piece of chocolate is something to enjoy, rather than just fuel for the fire that keeps your body running. Take the time to sit and eat a meal, and appreciate the divinity of flavor!
5. Sharing with others and being charitable with time together. Allow yourself some intimacy by sharing more than small talk, and forget about being on the clock, even if you only have a certain amount of time together. Make every minute count but don’t force it- let things be natural and easy.
6. Surround yourself in comfort- warmth, cozy textiles, soft lighting, soothing scents. Make your atmosphere as welcoming and relaxing as possible. Fill your home with items you are proud of (furniture you’ve made, or a family heirloom, etc), and that invite others into the space.
7. Have gratitude for things in your life, and look upon them in a positive light. A positive mindset is essential for hygge, because it makes you appreciate what you have surrounded yourself with- your home, friends, family, and other things you have worked hard for.
8. Consider and practice “relaxed thoughfulness”. Stay away from heated topics, keep the drama out of conversation, and be mindful of inclusion. Nobody is the center of attention, and all focus is on keeping the peace.
9. Share the oxytocin. Wait what?! YES, I said it. Oxytocin, also known as the love drug, is a hormone our bodies naturally produce when we are comfortable and close with those around us. It’s especially noticed in intimate gestures, such as touches to the arm, legs snuggled close, and hugs being exchanged during greetings and departures.
10. Hygge isn’t just something to practice in the fall and winter months. Although it may seem most obvious to hygge in the colder months, you can make sure your home and lifestyle follow the same basics listed above throughout the entire year!
I don’t know about you, but when hygge became a big “thing” I was all about it cozy-ing up my space. However, now that I’ve read through this great little guide, I can see it’s a lifestyle, modeled after it’s Danish influencers. I hope we can all take add some hygge to our lives!
Published: September 1 , 2016
Publisher: Penguin Life
TL/DR: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking is a reference guide to the art and history of hygge.
Read it? If you’re interested in learning about hygge, definitely give this a read! It’s more comprehensive that what you can piecemeal together from the internet.
Recommend it? Absolutely!
Buy it? Yes, obviously, because reference books are great to have hard copies of so you can reference them.