The short answer is yes, absolutely! Hygge is not about consumerism and you can practice it sustainably.
Since last year our notion of “home” has evolved. When offices, schools, restaurants, and gyms closed, for many people their living space became their workplace, classroom, fitness or yoga studio, and more. At some point, I felt trapped and couldn’t find contentment in my own home. Then I realized that something was missing from my home and my life. Hygge!
So, what exactly is hygge?
The word Hygge – (pronounced Hoo-guh) – originated in the old Norwegian language, where it meant something like “well-being.” The Danes embraced the concept at the end of the 18th century.
However, Hygge can’t be translated into one single word. According to the Oxford translation, it is a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Rumour has it that hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.
Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, says that “hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” “The true essence of hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and it’s basically like a hug, just without the physical touch,” he says.
Hygge can be a noun, a verb, and an adjective.
Riding a bike or going for a walk – that’s hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge. Turning off your phone to bake cookies with your kid – that’s hygge. Sharing a meal with a company of friends and family – that’s the biggest hygge.
Home is an essential element of hygge. And since we are spending so much time at home these days, why not make it a place of well-being and contentment? Space that makes you and your loved ones happy?
What are the ways to bring Hygge to your home? Here are a few sustainable ideas:
1. Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
Hygge is all about soft light and an ambient glow, therefore candles are an essential part of Hygge. Meik Wiking calls candles “instant hygge”.
- When choosing candles look for the ones that are sustainably made from beeswax or vegetable wax (like soy or coconut). Choose the ones that come in upcycled glass holders or repurposed metal containers. You can reuse the jar afterward or recycle it.
- Or try making candles yourself. After all, all the candles contain only three main components: wax, a wick, and a container (you can also add essential oil if you prefer scented ones).
2. Bring the entire forest inside.
- Hygge design often involves wood and other natural elements. Try to artistically incorporate different leaves, pinecones, branches, and moss by placing them in bowls or vases in various corners of your home. No need to rush to the store to get them. Make it a forest scavenger hunt for the whole family.
- Add plants to your home. Not only will they liven the space but will purify your air and release oxygen. Check out Buy Nothing or your other local groups for free options.
3. Bake. Sip. Read. Repeat.
Hygge is about enjoying simple pleasures and taking a break. A cup of hot tea or cocoa with a homemade cookie or pie will do it. Try making an ordinary moment of preparing a cup of tea into a special one. To make your drink sustainable (and more economical) opt for loose-leaf tea. Be present. Take time to sit down on your favorite chair covered in a blanket and mindfully enjoy it and appreciate the moment of calmness or read your favorite book.
4. Embrace the antiques and get nostalgic.
Don’t rush throwing away your favorite piece of furniture, even if it is broken. Sometimes it is an easy fix. A vintage lamp, chair, or table is so hygge if they “spark joy.”
What other sustainable ways can you bring hygge into your home and lifestyle? Leave us a comment below.