So as we all know this blog most definitely isn’t a lifestyle blog. Hell, I’m not even certain how I would define my lifestyle. Messy? Chaotic? Average? Is neurotic, slightly clumsy, over analytical perfectionist even a lifestyle? Anyway I digress. So lifestyle blogger I ain’t, however, I have been rather influenced by a little book that I have recently read: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
So what’s this little book all about and why am I actually blogging about it? Well because, aside from the aesthetics of the little gem of a book (would make great coffee table fodder if one didn’t have a toddler as that intrinsically means one cannot have coffee table books or indeed any paraphernalia within reaching/grabbing distance of little rascal paws) , I think there is some method to this madness!
So what is Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga)? Simply put, it is all about comfort, relaxation, socialising, eating and generally achieving a state of being very much content by being in proximity to all of these elements. It is a concept that is distinctly familiar to everyone but the Danes have got it down to a fine art that is inherently part of their cultural identify and way of life. We will all recognise situations and occasions that have hygge potential and the concept is one that will resonate with many. To simply express it – if hygge was a season it would be Autumn; if it were a holiday it would be Christmas; if it were a cuisine it would feature slow cooked stews with dumplings, tartes and tortes with calorific fillings and a cosy hot chocolate that is decadent and rich; if it were a time it would be a cosy Friday evening in joggers or a lazy Sunday afternoon walking in a cosy jumper; if it were an interior design it would be candles, soft lighting, throws, cushions and blankets. Hopefully, you understand where I’m coming from here!
Okay, you say, you kind of understand what it is (you think) but why should it be a family lifestyle choice?
The answer to this is quite simple – because it is about building good relationships with family and friends, being socialbe and relaxed, about cosy togetherness. Plus, it isn’t that ridiculous a lifestyle to achieve.
For me, I want my family home to be a place of comfort and security. A port in the storm. A hiding hole when life gets tough. Where the family unit can come together and regroup. It is about creating a family identity and establishing life long traditions that could potentially stretch the next few generations. Hygge is a way to create this.
In the book, it mentions how Danes are the happiest nation in Europe. This is attributed to hygge. Hygge is something that is found in all elements of life in Denmark – even the work place can be made more hygge.
So how can this be implementing it into family life:
Well firstly it’s about the food. Home prepared and slow cooked with everyone chipping in. An ideal opportunity to have the family over to help prepare a feast whilst you chat and socialise over a glass of wine or two (or a bottle who are we kidding?). Creating a tender casserole followed by a home baked dessert all prepared by everyone sharing the work. This could be your Sunday lunch or Saturday night dinner. The more everyone gets involved the more hygge it is.
The next way to establish a more hygge lifestyle is embedding it into the family routines and rituals. For example, when everyone has come home after a busy day, changing into comfy clothes out of workwear and school uniform with every one taking the time to put down the digital devices and have a cup of tea and a chat. Maybe a nice snack could feature also as hygge is all about the food (you may have noticed this). Or having a special night of the week that is about quality family time. Say a movie and board game night with snacks (although if you have a competitive family this may lead to conflict – or a riot). Again ditching the digital distractions to enjoy spending time with each other for a few hours.
The result of this will most definitely be more quality time but it doesn’t have to be spent eating indoors. Take it as an opportunity to go on excursions and day trips. It could also be a relaxing walk on a brisk day. Taking time to look at the scenery and the beauty of the season. A trip to the seaside for a paddle in the sea and a large ice cream. Even packing a picnic and heading to the park to lap up the sunshine. All of which don’t have to cost a lot of money (hygge isn’t about spending money it’s about spending time) and are all good memory makers.
Why leave it at day trips? Holidays are the quintessential opportunity to create hygge. Everyone in the family is hoping for a peaceful and relaxing time – plan the location and activities together to create the absolute epitome of hygge (and to prevent arguments).
The main crux is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to establish a little (or a lot) of hygge in your life. This is why it appeals. Plus if it leads to be being happier and more content then I’m all for that. Plus I like food and anything to do with the creation and consumption of food is good for me!
Right, I’m off to hygge with a cuppa and my favourite book! Oh and a slice of banana cake I just baked…well it’s not as hygge without the food!