Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ is a feeling put remotely into an expression by the Danish which roughly translates as the mood of making the everyday ordinary, more beautiful, meaningful and, in a nutshell, cosy. Hygge is not just the new buzzword in the happiness wellness discourse, it is a pursuit of happiness achieved by slowing down to enrich our lives with what already exists.
Hygge connotes a way of living mostly associated with Denmark and Norwegian regions with aesthetics ranging from ode to coffee/tea to candles, comforters, books and surrounding yourself with people and things you love, basically create an atmosphere of cosiness and contentment. Prevalent especially in the cold months, it is a great way to ride out the winter blues and make the most out of it, instead of complaining about it. And it is probably why Denmark is known as the happiest country in the world, regardless of its miserable winters.
So how about adding a little bit of hygge to your winter holidays? Here are 10 ideas to amp up the warmth and cosiness on your travels, hygge style.
Light it up
Incomplete without a cluster flickering lights, hygge is reflected in the warm glow of candlelight. Pack a scented candle on your travels to carry a dose of hygge with you. From the scent of pine needles, cinnamon, eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender to even scents such as apple pie, Christmas cookies and crushed candy, candles can really bring the merry into the Christmas season. You could light some candles around the room too, or in the bath. Just run a bath in the tub, add a fragrant bath bomb, set out a fluffy robe... and you are good to go.
Take along your favourite tea, coffee or hot chocolate packs on your vacation. Wake up before your usual time and brew your own cosy cup, instead of ordering room service. Or ask for a glogg, or a hot toddy, or some spiced hot mulled wine to give your belly the warm fuzzies. Revisit the nostalgia that tugs on the best food memories you have and wherever you travel, find that food hug you cherish.
Disconnect the constant notifications
Holidays deserve a less distracted version of you. While on vacation, detox from the anxiety of constantly being digitally available, if not for the entire weekend or the entire day then least an afternoon. Instead of your computer screen, engage with nature outside, connect with fellow travellers and give yourself a chance to live beyond your digital presence.
Immerse in hyggekrog
Ever found a cosy nook in a café that is just yours where you can curl up with your book and sit for hours altogether? The Danish have a word for that – hyggekrog. Find your space of warmth and comfort wherever you stay on your travels and treat yourself to a book. If the idea of reading by a window while it rains/snows outside gives you comfort, then you already know what hygge is.
Carry a dose of hyggebusker
Embrace those sweatpants that you are the most comfortable in but wouldn’t be caught wearing in public. Hyggebuskers are those comfortable, even if ugly, pants or a pair of fuzzy socks that all of us have. Be sure to pack it for your travels, it isn't a holiday if it doesn't include comfortable clothing, whatever that means for you. Snuggle inside the blankets and feel how it is to be warm in the dead of the cold.
Take immersive walks and journal
Do not just take a break, but make it meaningful. While on a vacation try to indulge yourself in as many activities as possible to connect with your inner self. Instead of TV, take the opportunity to go for an immersive walk outside and bask in the beauty of what nature has to offer in abundance. The silence and solace will give you ample mesmerising moments to think, observe and cherish. Journal at the end of each day of your trip, jotting down details. Not only will it enrich your stay but it will change how you used to travel for the better.
Book a fireplace or bonfire
Winters already feel incomplete without sitting around a fire. Rent a room with a mandatory fireplace in the mountains this holiday season to give yourself that quintessential experience of winters. A majestic view of the hills while you hang out by the fireplace is the holiday we all deserve. Couple this with relaxing and unwinding with your favourite beverage, person or book and it will begin to look a lot like Christmas.
Rent a cabin
From the beautiful wood cabins in Iceland, Sweden to the homestays present in Uttarakhand and Himachal renting a cabin goes a long way in giving you a space to unwind and most importantly to slow down to enjoy the nature and the extraordinary in the mundane. Renting a cabin outside of the concrete jungle where you can appreciate soliloquy and not be dependent on the room services will allow you to really get out there and connect with the wilderness.
Take a camping trip with your fam, with a dose of luxury thrown in, if that is what allows you to slow down and be in the moment. Just taking in the hills, woods, sunsets and a night full of stars will make you grateful to be alive.
We live in a world where everyone is in a state of hurry, detached and emotionally unavailable for the moments that really matter in life. Hygge is a state of mind to be practiced in the little moments of the day. To savour the present moment and connect with the now. This time on your travels, consciously slow down, take your time and look at what really brings you joy.