Although it seems to be everywhere I'm not sure that Hygge has actually made it to my part of the Sussex Coast. Intrigued by this tradition of coziness, which is being lauded as the reason the Danish are so happy, I resolved to get myself one of the multitude of books on the subject that have been published this Autumn. Alas, not one was to be found in any of the bookshops in my area and I wondered if the booksellers were trying to save me from myself and this idea of candles and cocoa was just far too much for us here at the very British seaside. Then again, its cocoa, and we do have an awful lot of candle shops so maybe it was just an oversight on the part of the local bookshops, so to Amazon I went.
The idea of Hygge is to be cosy, warm, safe and known. It is one of those terms like schadenfreude that is something I think we all understand when we thing about it, but no single word exists in English for it. It isn't a radical idea, it just seems to be one we've missed here in the English Speaking world as it is undefined in our language. And I think that, as they say, is the rub.
I've had this book now over a month, and with everything going on I'm still only a few pages in. It's not because its a bad book, the opposite, but more because it wasn't a new idea for me. It's something I have always strived for when feeling a bit meh. when I need that hug from the world. I cozy up and just pause, I'll spend the day at home with my favourite things, I'll take the time to cook my favourite lunch and sit and enjoy a really nice cuppa. And I realised, in a completely bizarre way, was that in my need to devour this book and comment on this fascination with Hygge, to catch up with every other blogger out there writing about it, I was losing my Hygge. That time out for myself, to stop and to ground myself and be in the moment became something I could do after I had been totally efficient and almost, in a way, became a reward, instead of something I do as part of being happy, instead of self care.
It is the thing about our culture I feel, and why British people are nowhere near as happy as the Danes. We strive and always look up, which while not a bad thing at all means we often forget to just BE. Sometimes I might put something on the to do list rather than rush to do it so that I can take "my time", and I used to feel like that was a failure, I should be ok without it. The Danish list higher on the happiness list not because of some secret they have over us, more so that they've not forgotten and blanked that part of the self that tells us we need to pause and stop - instead they have embraced it in their culture. It's something we could do with more. And I feel that is where the facination with Hygge has come from, the way the Danish embrace it almost gives us permission to listen to that inner voice. It's no longer lazy or unproductive or a waste - its Hygge. It's good for our happiness.
Have you read any of the books on Hygge? Have you started incorporating it into your life?