When a country is ranked as the happiest in the world time after time, you know it can’t hurt for other countries to take a page or two out of its book. Which is exactly why everyone is finally taking a cue from Denmark and adopting a tradition that’s been touted in Danish culture for years: hygge.
Hygge – pronounced “HOO–ga” – is, put simply, a “way of being” that embraces small pleasures and joys, maximum comfort, and living slowly and presently. In a way, it’s about just taking some time for yourself to break free of your routine and of any kind of stress that has been weighing you down. In short, it’s kind of like an opportunity to just be happy.
While the concept sounds just a bit vague, that’s really just because it leaves a lot of room for personalization, since happiness and comfort aren’t necessarily the same thing for everyone. So for some, hygge might be staying in with the family for game night on Friday. For others, it might be a weekend fishing trip. There aren’t a whole lot of rules that dictate hygge, just that it should embrace this sense of being in the moment, and savoring every second of it.
That being said, there are certainly a bunch of key items that tend to fall under the category of “hyggeligt.” These might include things like warm wool socks, soft blankets, a cozy sweater, some candles, and chocolate. According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, these are the kinds of items that you can consider keeping in a “hygge emergency kit,” for those nights when you’re just feeling a bit low on energy and looking to spend a simple night in.