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How to Hygge (Or the Art of Care-Free Comfort)

Fall Into Winter

That Fuzzy Feeling

You know that fuzzy contented feeling, when you’re curled up on a sofa snaffling biscuits, with a crackling fire, listening to the wind howling outside? Or that feeling when you cocoon yourself in duvet on a Sunday morning…how about the liberation of wearing your pyjamas, beyond midday?

That’s very hygge. “Hoo-gah”.

Hygge? What’s That?
Hygge? What’s That?

The Danish are known as the happiest people in the world. There are many reasons for this, but one of them could be their commitment to hygge.

There is not an English equivalent word for hygge—the closest would be perhaps, comfort. It doesn’t quite work though. We may seek comfort, or a chair might be comfortable. We may even have a comfortable life, but this isn’t the same as hygge.

Hygge is the ultimate benefit of comfort. The indescribable sense of “hmmm lovely”. It’s the feel-good x factor. In Denmark hygge is a serious matter. The Danish live their lives by it.

The thing about hygge, is for many of us it doesn’t crop up as often as we’d want (if at all). It’s something we must fight for. 

What Stressful Lives We Lead
What Stressful Lives We Lead

If hygge is where we want to be, then stress is the other side of the wellness coin. Here in the UK we invited stress for dinner, but now it’s living in the spare room. We’re in the middle of a stress epidemic.

According to a study by YouGov, in 2018 74% of us felt overwhelmed by stress at some point.  This is a brutal statistic. We all know that stress, over time, leads to health issues. So, what’s going on? Can we not destress? This is easier said than done.

The Switch is Always “On”
The Switch is Always “On”

One reason we experience chronic stress is the digitalisation of modern society. Even if we ran into the woods and dedicated ourselves to a life foraging mushrooms and rubbing sticks, with a waft of 4G we could see our emails piling up. Weekend or not, soon if we miss a work call, we won’t even have rural signal as an excuse. A new £1 billion investment, backed by the Government pledges to end rural “not spots”.

This modern dissolution of the divide between work and play is anti -hygge. Some of it’s a mindset, which we’re guilty of falling into. “I must always be on”. We’re conditioned to think this way. To top this off, we burden ourselves with diets, regimes, and other lifestyle choices based on restriction.

We need to re-learn how to lighten up and appreciate the simple pleasures. Below are some very hygge things we need to have in our lives, particularly now winter is coming.

Hygge is Healthy Hedonism
Hygge is Healthy Hedonism

No, not in an ancient Greek or Roman way—in a “yes please” to another slice of cake way. Hygge is overcoming that irksome pang of guilt when you fancy a little more of something you love but worry it’s bad for you.

Go on, you know you want to!

Hygge is saying “of course” to cream and marshmallows on your hot chocolate. No skinny lattes, half-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, or the dreaded low fat houmous. It exists and it’s possible to buy it accidentally.

What hygge isn’t, is going overboard and making yourself feel gross with too many treats. Just like having no treats is bad for your mental health, having too many (obviously) isn’t great for your physical health.

The best thing to do is make sure you take the odd moment to thoroughly indulge. All the better if you’re snuggled up in the bleak mid-winter beside that roaring fire.

Hygge is the Simple Pleasures
Hygge is the Simple Pleasures

Taking in the intoxicating aroma of roses on a summer’s afternoon is hygge. So is catching snowflakes on your tongue in winter. Yeah, we all do it. Hygge is the lexical embodiment of life’s simple pleasures.  It’s fully appreciating what nature and the outdoors has to offer—the free gifts of the earth and the elements.

Hygge is being a hippy.

Hygge is turning off your PC, putting your phone on silent, opening the door to world and stepping out. Hygge is being immersed in the silence of an ancient woodland or the feeling of sand slipping between your toes as a wave returns to the ocean.

Hygge is Analog Living
Hygge is Analog Living

Watching a good film could be considered hygge, but if all our entertainment is digital that’s not hygge. Hygge as a concept has roots in Old Norse. It comes from a time where people couldn’t Netflix and chill, funnily enough. They had to make their own fun, their own hygge.

Taking inspiration from this is the modern incantation of hygge. For example, rather than channel hop on a dark and stormy night—why not lose yourself in an epic novel? With friends, rather than meet at the pub or bar, why not share a couple of bottles of red at home and play a boardgame? (With tasty snacks).

Boardgames are something few of us play, beyond trivial pursuit or monopoly at Christmas. There’s no decent reason for this. Boardgames don’t have to be dusty, based around colonialism or set in a dodgy fantasy land—they come in many forms—some of which are heaps of fun.

Candles. These are considered a hygge symbol. We illuminate our homes with harsh artificial light which jiggles our circadian rhythms (our sleep cycle). The mellow burnished glow of a candle is far less intrusive for our eyes and wonderfully atmospheric.

Hygge Attire
Hygge Attire

Unlike some trends, the clothing of hygge is whatever you feel comfortable in. It’s your worn in, worn out, round the house clothes. It’s your favourite old jumper, fluffy slippers, faded joggers. Hygge is dress down, not up.

Those times where you think “ugh, I can’t be seen like this” when someone randomly stops by. That’s pretty hygge. It teaches us to be free and breezy with our appearance.

Hygge is Taking a Break
Hygge is Taking a Break

Chocolate wafer is not a holiday substitute. We might be hygge in the evening, between demands or on the weekend if we’re lucky. However, we need to forget about work, and daily life for a while for hygge to truly set in.

That’s where a refreshing and wild coastal break may do the trick.

At the Woolacombe Bay Hotel we have modern rooms, designed with a clean aesthetic, with sink-into, blissful beds and you can even choose to have a cosy window seat. Ideal for wistful thinking and book reading.

We also have a luxury spa with a full range of rejuvenating treatments, enriched with elemental goodness and botanicals.

Not only this, but we’re a whisper away from three miles of pristine sandy beach and the rugged soul rousing splendour of the North Devon coast.

We think it’s hygge and we’re sure you will too. Check Our Special Breaks