Winter is coming. For centuries, the Danes have gotten through long, dark, frigid winters by making hygge part of their culture. Pronounced “HOO-GUH,” it comes from a 16th century Norwegian word “hugga” meaning to comfort, console and hug. Hygge might be why Danes are consistently ranked as some of the happiest people on earth. With COVID-19 surging globally, and most of us working remotely from home, hygge is a perfect self-care concept to embrace now and share with colleagues, family and friends. Especially if you, like me, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that kicks in late fall and lasts until spring.
Hygge is soft slippers, low lighting, a pot of tea with pastries, cozy shawls, candles, big sweaters, sweatpants, faux fur anything, kindness, warmth and caring. As we head into the winter season, be mindful about creating your cozy, and share with others to foster connection and togetherness.
Here are six ways you can bring Hygge home and make your workspace, and home cozier, and increase your mental well-being, at the same time.
1. Buy New Slippers.
Who needs shoes? My friend @SheilaHayes just splurged on a pair of Haflinger “Coffee” slippers. I love my Wicked Good Sheepskin Slippers from LL Bean, which I’ve been known to wear to the grocery store. I picked up this slipper tip from my Dad who’s been wearing these for years. I recently got my daughter Halluci Fleece Slippers on Amazon for about $25. Cozy feet are well worth the investment.
2. Light it Up!
If you don’t have a fireplace, do what I do, and light a candle. I also have battery-operated LED pillar candles in my home office and living room, on flicker mode. According to the Hygge experts, soft light is calming. A small desk lamp made of wood with a linen shade ($20 on Amazon), placed behind my PC, casts angelic, soft light on my face during Zoom calls. Placing the light behind your PC camera is a great tip from @MeghanDotter, author of “Connecting in a Virtual World.” A desktop light therapy box is a great option when it’s super dark and gloomy outside.
Drape a soft blanket or shawl on your work chair to warm things up. Keep a space heater at your feet to keep you toasty. Wrap a bright pashmina scarf around your shoulders to stay warm and cozy, and present professionally, on a Zoom call, or in person. There’s nothing cozier than your furry friend. Think about a dog bed or sunny spot for your kitty to nap, near your workspace.
4. Drink Hot Toddies.
It’s interesting that both the Danes and my very Southern mother both have a fondness for hot toddies. Keep a pot of hot tea, coffee or warm apple cider close by during the day. Here are 20 warm Hygge drink recipes that will keep you cozy during the day. The Mexican hot chocolate is a personal favorite. At night, try some hot mulled wine, aka glogg, or a classic Southern hot toddy featuring my favorite @TaconicDistillery bourbon.
5. Eat Sweets.
Seriously! A pastry a day keeps the doctor away.
6. Go Outside.
I try to schedule time each day to walk and talk outside. This might be a quick catch-up with mom, or an hour-long webinar planning call. A warm hat and gloves will prevent your body heat from escaping. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vitamin D is an essential immunity booster, and soaking up the sun is a simple way to get your daily dose.
My sister, @LynnMuller, gave me “The Little Book of Hygge,” by Meik Wiking, the C.E.O. of a Copenhagen think tank called the Happiness Research Institute. Introducing me to Hygge was a glorious gift! In the book, Wiking shares a story about an afternoon spent with a few friends, hiking in the snow, followed by gathering around the crackling fire pit for hot mulled wine, popcorn and pizza. How Hygge!
How can you add #hygge to your workspace and lifestyle? Please share your tips with us below.